Actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell has been tapped to reunite with Underground showrunner Misha Green and star in the latter’s Jordan Peele- and J.J. Abrams-produced HBO drama series Lovecraft Country.
Picked up straight to series last May, Lovecraft Country is based on the 2016 novel from Matt Ruff. It follows Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
Smollett-Bell will star as Letitia “Leti” Dandridge, who hustled her way across the country as an artist protesting for civil rights who now finds herself back home looking to plant some roots.
Green penned the script and exec produces the Warner Bros. Television drama alongside Peele, Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson and David Knoller. Yann Demange will also exec produce and direct the pilot.
Smollett-Bell starred in WGN America’s critically acclaimed slave drama Underground for two seasons before the cable network reversed course and exited the high-end scripted originals business in favor of more cost-effective acquisitions. Smollett-Bell, who also received multiple offers this broadcast pilot season, broke out in Underground and was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards for her role. She followed that up with a feature, Eve’s Bayou, opposite Samuel L. Jackson. Her credits include Jason Katims‘ critical favorites Friday Night Lights and Parenthood and HBO’s True Blood. On the feature side, she has had roles in The Great Debaters, Roll Bounce and Gridiron Gang. She’s repped by ICM Partners, Management 360 and Del Shaw.