'Race' Star Stephan James Set as Male Lead in Fox Series 'Shots Fired'

Stephan James - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Stephan James - Getty - H 2016

Stephan James is returning to the small screen.

The actor, fresh off starring as Jesse Owens in the biopic Race, has been cast as the male lead in the Fox limited series Shots Fired.

Picked up straight to series, the drama explores the aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small town in Tennessee. Sanaa Lathan stars an expert investigator who digs into the cases alongside a special prosecutor (James) sent to the town by the Department of Justice. The pair must navigate the media attention, public debate and social unrest that comes with such volatile cases as they seek justice before the divided town erupts.

James is set to star as Preston, the special prosecutor for the civil rights division of the DOJ. He is focused on winning, but Preston's dogged pursuit comes with an emotional cost. The character is described as a chameleon who can talk with everyone from reverends to kids on the street and can charm Republican senators who crave power and approval.

The casting marks a return to the small screen for James, who before Race played John Lewis in Ava DuVernay's Selma and had roles in features Across the Line, When the Game Stands Tall and Lost After Dark. On the small screen, his credits include BET's Book of Negroes and Canadian/CW drama The L.A. Complex. He's repped by Innovative Artists and Noble Caplan Abrams.

Shots Fired is written and executive produced by married duo Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood. Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo also serve as executive producers on the 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine TV and Undisputed Cinema entry. Prince-Bythewood will direct the series, which is due to premiere this year.

Keep up with all the latest pickups, castings and series orders with THR's handy guide to pilot season.