History’s Roots miniseries remake will be given a world premiere showcase at the Mip-TV conference in Cannes on April 4. That’s nearly two months before its U.S. debut on May 30, airing over four consecutive nights and simulcast on fellow A+E Networks channels A&E and Lifetime. This repeats the rollout last year of History series Texas Rising, which also debuted on the Riviera ahead of a Memorial Day 2015 domestic launch.
Based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and its will to survive and ultimately carry on a legacy despite hardship. The original groundbreaking series aired on ABC in 1977.
The new eight-hour event mini is distributed by A+E Studios International. It stars newcomers Regé-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby as Chicken George and Kunta Kinte, joined by Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Matthew Goode, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy and Chad L Coleman. Paquin, Ryhs Meyers, Rose and Kirby will attend the world premiere along with executive producer Mark Wolper and co-exec producer LeVar Burton, who played the central character, the young Kunta Kinte, in the original.
Starting with the capture of Kunta Kinte in his Gambian village, Roots follows his Middle Passage to colonial America as a slave and follows his family’s fight for survival while witnessing and contributing to notable moments in U.S. history, including the American Revolution and the Civil War.
Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original Roots. Will Packer, Toberoff, Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. Burton and Korin D Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray are writing. Questlove is executive music producer. Roots is directed by Phillip Noyce, Mario Van Peebles, Thomas Carter and Bruce Beresford.