Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul’Giancarlo Esposito has been cast as one of the leads opposite Forest Whitaker in Godfather of Harlem, Epix’s straight-to-series crime drama from Narcos co-creator Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein and ABC Signature Studios.

Written by Brancato and Eckstein, Godfather of Harlem is inspired by the story of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned from 10 years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X (Nigél Thatch) – catching Malcolm’s political rise in the crosshairs of social upheaval and a mob war that threatens to tear the city apart.

Esposito will play Adam Clayton Powell. Baptist Minister, Harlem Congressman, and man of many appetites, Adam Clayton Powell is a legendary Harlem figure who more than any other New Yorker advanced the cause of civil rights at home and in Washington. With a taste for European cruises at taxpayer expense, whiskey and milk, and beautiful women, Powell is an outrageous showman who delights in tweaking the white power structure. His running feud with Bumpy Johnson becomes the stuff of lore and legend.

Vincent D’Onofrio, Ilfenesh Hadera,and  Antoinette Crowe-Legacy also star. Brancato and Eckstein executive produce with Whitaker.

In June, Esposito was tapped for a one-year starring turn on the upcoming Cinemax series Jett. He is coming off a two-season series regular turn on Better Call Saul, reprising his popular Breaking Bad character of Gustavo “Gus” Fring. That includes Season 3 and 4, which is now airing. I hear that while Esposito has has no deal in place beyond that, he could return to the AMC series, which has been renewed for a fifth season.

Esposito is repped by ICM and Thruline Entertainment.