EXCLUSIVE: Canadian public broadcaster CBC and BET+ have set the headline cast for The Porter, an original drama series about a group of 1920s railway workers who unite to form the world’s first Black union.
Aml Ameen, the British actor who starred in HBO/BBC’s award-winning I May Destroy You and Idris Elba-directed feature Yardie, leads the series as Junior Massey, an intelligent, smooth, ambitious, and fearless risk-taker and war veteran employed as a porter with the transcontinental railroad.
He is joined by Star Trek: Discovery actor Ronnie Rowe Jr, who plays Massey’s war buddy Zeke Garrett, and The Umbrella Academy star Mouna Traoré, who features as Massey’s wife Marlene, a worker with the Black Cross Nurses, an offshoot of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association.
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Produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films, The Porter was created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2) with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys), Marsha Greene (Private Eyes), and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer).
Here’s the logline: “Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, The Porter depicts the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal — known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S. via the Underground Railroad and through the Great Migration, and they find themselves thrown together north and south of the color line, in an era that boasts anything is possible — but if change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. By any means necessary.”
Morais and Greene are showrunners and executive producers. Charles Officer (21 Thunder) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot) direct and are executive producers. Pinnock and Ramsay are co-executive producers. The series is written by Morais, Greene, Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Priscilla White, Pinnock and Ramsay, with R.T. Thorne participating in the writers’ room.
The series is funded with the support of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film & Music. It is distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights and Sphere Distribution.
Ameen is repped by UTA, Link Entertainment, The Artists Partnership in the UK, and attorney Dave Feldman. Rowe Jr is repped by Link Entertainment and The Characters Talent Agency. Traoré is repped by The Characters, Buchwald, and Thruline Entertainment.
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