Former Underground star Jurnee Smollett-Bell is set as the female lead in HBO’s high-profile straight-to-series drama Lovecraft Country, from Oscar winner Jordan Peele and his Monkeypaw Productions, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Warner Bros Television.
The project reunites Smollett-Bell with Underground co-creator Misha Green, writer and executive producer of Lovecraft Country. The casting also brings the actress back to HBO, where she was a series regular on the last two seasons of hit vampire drama True Blood. Smollett-Bell signed on for the HBO show after fielding multiple broadcast pilot offers.
Penned by Green based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Black as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. Thus 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’s Letitia “Leti” Dandridge hustled her way across the country as an artist protesting for civil rights and now finds herself back home looking to plant some roots.
Peele and Green executive produce, along with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Ben Stephenson, David Knoller and Yann Demange, who directs the first episode. Lovecraft Country is produced by Bad Robot Productions and Monkeypaw Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Smollett-Bell was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her starring role as Rosalee on WGN’s praised series Underground, which aired for two seasons. Her TV series credits also include NBC’s Friday Night Lights and Parenthood and a guest-starring role in the 2009 season finale of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. She’s repped by ICM Partners, Management 360 and attorney Nina Shaw.
In addition to working on Lovecraft Country, Green is producing the feature film Mother at Netflix. She has written episodes for Sons of Anarchy, Spartacus and Heroes and produced Helix. Next up, Misha will be partnering with Warner Bros to revive the 1973 feature film Cleopatra Jones. She’s repped by CAA and attorney Nina Shaw.