Tag Archives: Gary Levine

Showtime orders epic Zulu drama

Showtime in the US has greenlit a series about the Zulu Empire chief Shaka and his unlikely rise to power, uniting multiple tribes across vast stretches of Africa in the early 19th century.

Antoine Fuqua

Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation will be executive produced and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and was created and written by Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika.

Produced by CBS Studios and Propagate, the hour-long drama follows one man’s personal journey from stigmatised childhood to warrior king.

Odebunmi and Awosika (The Terminal List) executive produce with Ben Silverman, Rodney Ferrell, Fuqua, Howard T Owens, Gregory Lipstone, Rodney Ferrell and Spencer Medof.

The series is also produced by Scott Greenberg, with Michael Callas producing for Fuqua Films. The series is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment at ViacomCBS-owned Showtime Networks alongside Jana Winograde, said: “Olu and Tolu have written such an exciting and emotional origin story of an African warrior hero. Antoine’s passion for this project, coupled with his formidable talent, promises an epic series unlike any other on television.”

Fuqua added: “This project offers a gateway to our past that is so critical to our global history and yet so often marginalized. We hope to bring this saga to life, all the tears, sweat and blood, all the joy and sorrow, all the intimacy and intensity and humanity. In short, we’re going to rock the world with this one.”

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Oyelowo takes lead in Showtime drama

Nigerian-British-American actor David Oyelowo is to star in Showtime drama pilot The President is Missing, based on the bestselling novel by former US president Bill Clinton and James Patterson.

David Oyelowo

The series tells the story of a powerless and politically aimless vice president, played by Oyelowo, who becomes US president unexpectedly and against his wishes. He has to deal with crisis both within and outside the White House amidst scandals, conspiracy and attacks by friends and enemies.

The pilot, which is set to begin production in 2020, is being written and executive produced by Anthony Peckham, alongside Christopher McQuarrie, Heather McQuarrie, Clinton, Patterson, Bill Robinson, Leopoldo Gout and Oyelowo.

Gary Levine, co-president of entertainment for Showtime, said: “David brings such enormous depth, sensitivity and power to every role he plays. Having him as our lead ensures that our series will have the exhilarating suspense of a political thriller along with the juicy complexity of a character drama.”

Oyelowo is known for his role as Martin Luther King Jr in the 2014 film Selma. He was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Emmy for the HBO movie Nightingale and his other recent credits include the BBC miniseries adaptation of Les Misérables and films like The Cloverfield Paradox, Queen of Katwe, Don’t Let Go and A Wrinkle in Time.

Showtime landed the rights to the book in 2017 nearly a year before the its June 2018 release.

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