Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris and Kevin Carroll have signed on to the project about legendary African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Madam C.J. Walker, Netflix announced today. They join previously announced lead Octavia Spencer.
The Oscar-winning Spencer stars as Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker, the black hair care pioneer and mogul who overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and family challenges to become America’s first black, self-made female millionaire. Spencer also executive produces alongside Christine Holder, Mark Holder, with LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Jamal Henderson for SpringHill Entertainment.
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Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson are set as showrunners on the Zero Gravity-produced series about the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist, with Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me) on board to direct the first episode. Warner Bros. TV is the studio via SpringHill’s Warner Bros. deal.
The series is written by creator Nicole Asher and inspired by the book On Her Own Ground by former ABC News executive A’Lelia Bundles, who is Walker’s great-great-granddaughter. The project is produced by SpringHill Entertainment and Zero Gravity in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Below are details on the roles Haddish, Ejogo, Underwood, Morris and Carroll will play.
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) will play Lelia, the smart and feisty daughter of Sarah Breedlove and her late first husband. Raised by her single, hard-working mother, she is eager to be independent. After falling in love and marrying the feckless John Robinson, she frequently finds herself coming to her husband’s defenses.
Carmen Ejogo (Selma) will play Addie, a hairstylist and former friend of Sarah Breedlove. She is a savvy business woman herself, who parlays her good looks and social standing into a profitable African American hair care business. Fiercely competitive, when she quickly dismisses Sarah’s ambitions to be one of her sales women, charting a course to become Sarah’s nemesis and rival.
Blair Underwood (When They See Us) will play Chares James Walker, Sarah’s husband. He’s incredibly supportive and encouraging of his wife’s hair product business, which he helps her run. CJ has a way of calming Sarah down and soothing her worries, but he grows concerned about her increasing stress over the ups and downs of her business.
Garrett Morris (2 Broke Girls) will play Cleophus, CJ’s father, and a former slave who comes to live with CJ and Sarah. He gets along well with Sarah and helps in her hair product business.
Kevin Carroll (Snowfall) will play Ransom, a Pullman porter whose many degrees include law and patents from Columbia University. When he agrees to help Sarah with her hair product patents and becomes the company lawyer, he does his best to pull her back from what he feels is a risky expansion and efforts.
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