MIPTV: 'Roots' to Get World Premiere on Opening Night

Casey Crafford

Anna Paquin, Anika Noni Rose and Levar Burton will be on hand to present A+E's remake of the Alex Haley slavery epic.

A+E Networks' A+E Studios will take Roots to MIPTV, with the eight-episode series making its world debut as the opening-night world premiere of the TV industry gathering.

Stars Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose and Malachi Kirby will be on hand to present the series. Executive producers Mark Wolper and Levar Burton will also be in attendance as the screening will take place on the first night of the international TV market.

The series follows the journey of a family, from the patriarch’s capture as a slave in Gambia through his descendants’ experiences fighting slavery during the American Revolution and Civil War.

Based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, it is a remake of the original record-breaking ABC miniseries in 1977, which starred Burton. The series will premiere simultaneously on A+E, History and Lifetime channels in the U.S. on May 30.

“It’s a story with exceptional gravity, emotion and universality, which will impact viewers around the world,” said A+E Networks’ president of international and digital Sean Cohan. “Roots is one of our biggest undertakings. It embodies the type of ambitious storytelling that A+E Studios is bringing to the global marketplace.”

The star-studded production also includes Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Mekhi Phifer, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Matthew Goode, James Purefoy and Malachi Kirby, with episodes directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford. Questlove served as executive music producer.

“The Alex Haley novel and original series left its mark on a generation of readers and television viewers around the world. The quality of the talent associated with this new version of Roots and the incredible production team involved, once again confirms the commitment that broadcasters have towards event drama with international potential,” added Laurine Garaude, director of organizer Reed MIDEM’s television division.

MIPTV will run April 4-7 in Cannes.

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