Mary J. Blige, two-time Academy Award nominee for Mudbound, is headed to television with a key co-starring role on The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s upcoming live-action series from Universal Cable Prods.
Written by Jeremy Slater based on the popular graphic novels penned by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, the story follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes known as the Umbrella Academy — Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castañeda), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Vanya (Ellen Page), Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) — as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
Under a one-year deal, actress-singer Blige will play the series regular role of Cha-Cha, a ruthless and unorthodox hitwoman who travels through time to kill assigned targets. Even though she has a few gripes about the bureaucracy of her employers, this job is her life. She is sadistic, sociopathic, and her reputation precedes her. Her true love is torture, and she thinks of herself as a “pain artist.” She really doesn’t care for people—except for her partner Hazel.
This marks the biggest TV series commitment to date for Blige, who has done guest starring stints on such shows as Empire and Black-ish. She also starred on NBC’s highly rated production of The Wiz Live!
The Umbrella Academy reunites Blige with Netflix. The nine-time Grammy winner has Oscar nominations as actress in a supporting role for Mudbound and for co-writing the song Mighty River from the praised movie, which was distributed by Netflix. She also earned two Golden Globe nominations in the same categories for Mudbound and two SAG Award nominations, for supporting actress and ensemble cast.
The Umbrella Academy is executive produced by Steve Blackman, who will serve as showrunner, as well as Bluegrass Television and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer.
Blige is repped by APA, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks.