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Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us), Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Jack Ryan), Yara Shahidi (Grown-ish) and Pose star MJ Rodriguez have joined the star-packed cast of HBO’s special Between the World and Me.
Actors Kendrick Sampson (Insecure) and Michelle Wilson have also joined the adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, along with Pose writer, director and executive producer Janet Mock, composer Marc Bamuthi Joseph and jazz artist Jason Moran.
The third and final wave of casting includes Mahershala Ali, Coates, activist Angela Davis, Tip “T.I.” Harris, musician and filmmaker Mimi Jones, multiple Grammy nominee Ledisi, Greg Alverez Reid, jazz drummer Nate Smith and Olivia Washington.
They join a production that will also feature Angela Bassett, Alicia Garza, Joe Morton, Phylicia Rashad, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson and Oprah Winfrey.
The special, set to debut Nov. 21, is based on a 2018 theatrical performance at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. The HBO performance will incorporate elements of that production, including readings from Coates’ 2015 best-seller, along with documentary elements, archival footage and animation.
Between the World and Me is written as a letter from Coates to his teenage son and describes the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore and his growing fear of violence against the Black community. The narrative also explores Coates’ notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy.
Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes will direct the special, as she did for the 2018 theatrical production. Watson (This Is Us) also executive produces with Forbes, Coates and Roger Ross Williams, whose One Story Up is producing.
Jerome is repped by Kipperman Management, UTA and Sloane Offer. Joseph is repped by Sozo Artists. Mock is with CAA, 3 Arts and Del Shaw. Moran is with Gorfaine Schwartz Agency. Pierce is repped by Paradigm and Essential Talent. Rodriguez is repped by Gersh, Del Shaw and The Initiative Group. Sampson is with CAA and HJTH. Shahidi is repped by CAA, Principal Entertainment and attorney Ryan Nord. Wilson is with Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates and JWS Entertainment.
Ali is repped by Anonymous Content, WME and Sloane Offer. Coates is repped by UTA, Gloria Loomis of the Watkins Loomis Agency, and Del Shaw. Harris is repped by Crossover Entertainment. Ledisi is repped by Paradigm, Benchmark Entertainment and attorney Evan Krauss. Reid is repped by Freeze Frame Entertainment. Smith is repped by Big Fish Booking Company and Abelman Frayne & Schwab. Washington is repped by WME.
A teaser for the special is below.
Sept. 30, 10:30 a.m. Updated with final cast additions, premiere date and teaser.
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