Laurence Fishburne is set to join the A+E Networks reboot of Roots. The Emmy Award-winning actor will star as the writer of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley. It’s unknown how large the Black-ish star’s part will be, but James Earl Jones filled the role in the original.
The updated version of the 1977 series was first being produced for History but will now be simulcast on History, A&E and Lifetime. It will tell the multi-generational story of an African-American family, which begins with Kunta Kinte, a Gambian man sold into slavery in colonial America. The upcoming event series will use material from Haley’s book as well as new research and scholarship about the time.
A+E Studios is producing Roots, which is scheduled for 2016, with the original’s production company, The Wolper Organization. Mark Wolper, the son of the 1977 version’s late producer, David L. Wolper, has signed on as one of the executive producers. LeVar Burton, who starred as Kunta Kinte in the original production, is also an EP.