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USA Network has found its Sean “Puffy” Combs.
Luke James (The New Edition Story) has been cast as the famed rapper and mogul in the cabler’s drama pilot Unsolved: The Murders of Biggie and Tupac (working title), The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Aisha Hinds (Underground) and LeToya Luckett (Ballers) also have signed on for the project.
The scripted true crime serial centers on the major police investigations into the murders of rap stars Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (real name Christopher Wallace). Combs famously formed Bad Boy Records, to which Biggie was signed, and was also his best friend.
Hinds will play Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, who talked to her son every day before his death and has never stopped seeking justice for his unsolved murder.
Luckett will play Sharitha Golden, the then-estranged wife of Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight and seemingly one of the only people at the time not intimidated by him.
The trio join a cast that also includes Marcc Rose and Wavyy Jonez as Tupac and Biggie, respectively, as well as Jimmi Simpson, Bokeem Woodbine and Josh Duhamel, all three of whom will play police employees integral to the cases.
James, who most recently played musician Johnny Gill in the BET mini The New Edition Story, is also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and singer who has worked with Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. He is repped by ICM and JME Management.
Hinds is currently portraying another real-life figure, Harriet Tubman, on period drama Underground. Her other credits include True Blood and the upcoming limited series Shots Fired. She is repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency.
One of the original members of Destiny’s Child, Luckett also has acting credits including Ballers, Rosewood and Greenleaf. She is repped by ICM, Vincent Cirrincione Associates and Stone Genow.
Unsolved is based on the experiences of former LAPD detective Greg Kading, who is consulting on the pilot script and will also serve as co-executive producer. Kading led multiple law-enforcement task forces investigating the murders and authored the book Murder Rap: The Untold Story of Biggie Smalls & Tupac Shakur Murder Investigations.
Anthony Hemingway (The People v. O.J. Simpson) is set to direct and will executive produce alongside Mark Taylor through their Hemingway | Taylor production company. Kyle Long (Suits) is writing the pilot and will also executive produce. Universal Cable Productions will produce the hourlong drama.
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