Netflix Casts Its Young Colin Kaepernick for TV Series From Ava DuVernay

Jaden Michael
Daniel D’Ottavio

Newcomer Jaden Michael will star as a high school Colin Kaepernick in Netflix limited series Colin in Black & White.

The 17-year-old actor, who most recently led Lorne Michaels' Netflix comedy feature Vampires vs. The Bronx and was featured in 2017's Wonderstruck, has joined the scripted drama created by Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay, with DuVernay also directing the first episode.

The six-episode series will follow Kaepernick’s adolescent years as a Black teen growing up with a white adopted family, setting the stage for his NFL career and becoming the activist he is today. Kaepernick will also narrate the show.

In 2016, the then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback protested racial injustice, police brutality and systematic oppression when he kneeled during the pre-game national anthem. His act of protest was, at the time, considered polarizing with both NFL officials and fans, eventually drawing the ire of President Trump, who urged team owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its owners, alleging that they colluded to keep him out of the league. He remains a free agent, despite NFL commissioner Roger Goodell changing tune and urging teams to sign him this summer. In the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of Minnesota police, Kaepernick has become another face of the Black Lives Matter movement and inspiration for athlete activism.

The series is just one of Kaepernick's current projects, after signing a first-look deal with Disney in July for scripted and unscripted content exploring race, social injustice and racial inequality across its platforms. He also has a deal with Audible and is self-publishing a memoir.

Colin in Black & White, conceived in 2019 with scripts completed in May, was written by Michael Starrbury, who previously teamed with DuVernay on Netflix's Central Park 5 limited series When They See Us. Starrbury, DuVernay and Kaepernick will exec produce.

Michael, who currently voice acts on Amazon's Bug Diaries, is repped by A3 Artists Agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Sloss Eckhouse LawCo.