EXCLUSIVE: Mammoth Screen, the British producer behind series including The Serpent and Poldark, is developing a television drama based on the 18th Century slave uprising in Haiti.
The story will be told through the eyes of Toussaint Louverture — who helped turn the tide against slavery internationally through his actions in Haiti — after Mammoth optioned Sudhir Hazareesingh’s biography Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture.
The Baillie Gifford Prize longlisted book is a comprehensive look at the life of Louverture, a former slave, who became the leader of the colony’s black population, the commander of its republican army, and eventually its governor until he was seized by Napoléon Bonaparte’s invading army in 1802.
Hazareesingh describes Louverture as a warrior, philosopher, nation-builder, and founding father of Haiti, characterizing him in the book as the “world’s first black superhero.” Hazareesingh’s biography was hailed as “a tour de force” by The Guardian.
Mammoth is on the verge of signing up a notable screenwriter to helm the adaptation. Tom Leggett is executive producing alongside Mammoth founder Damien Timmer. Sherie Myers (I May Destroy You) is the development producer.
“Black Spartacus is an amazing story of an extraordinary man, Toussaint Louverture. His actions in the Haitian revolution changed the course of human history, turning the tide against slavery and oppression across the world. We are incredibly honored that Sudhir has entrusted us to bring his superb and meticulously researched book to the screen,” said Legget and Myers.
ITV Studios-backed Mammoth is one of the UK’s busiest scripted producers. Its Netflix/BBC series The Serpent racked up 31 million streams for iPlayer as of last month, while the second season of McDonald & Dodds launched on ITV on Sunday with 4M viewers.
The company is currently working with Call Me By Your Name helmer Luca Guadagnino to adapt Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel Brideshead Revisited. The BBC is on board, while HBO is the favorite to co-produce the project in the U.S.
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