EXCLUSIVE: Actress-performer Nadine Ellis (Let’s Stay Together) has landed a lead role opposite Yaya DaCosta, Morris Chestnut and Joe Morton in the Fox drama series Our Kind of People, from writer/executive producer Karin Gist and executive producer Lee Daniels.
Ellis will play Leah Franklin-Dupont, replacing LeToya Luckett who had been originally cast in the role. The decision was made following the table read on the project as the character is being tweaked. This is a normal occurrence in the development process as the table read is the first time all the characters — and their interactions — come to life following the casting procedures. (Our Kind of People received a straight-to-series order as part of Fox Entertainment’s model involving the opening of a writers room, so it did not produce a pilot.) Filming on the series is scheduled to begin next week as planned in Wilmington, NC. Tasha Smith (9-1-1, Big Sky) is directing the series premiere.
Inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s book Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class, the series written by Gist takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful Black elite have come to play for more than 50 years. Our Kind of People follows strong-willed single mom Angela Vaughn (DaCosta) as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of Black women. But she soon discovers a dark secret about her mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever.
Ellis’ Leah Franklin-Dupont is a strong, confident, elegant businesswoman who sits at the top of the food chain of the wealthy, long-standing Black elite in Martha’s Vineyard. Leah feels the pressure of her position, and a responsibility to give back to the Black community. But when Angela Vaughn arrives and starts to shake things up and threaten her family’s legacy, Leah makes it her mission to bar Angela from acceptance into The Bluffs before she tears down everything Leah’s family has built.
Chestnut plays Leah’s husband, Raymond Dupont; Morton portrays her father, Teddy Franklin.
A co-production between 20th Television and Fox Entertainment, Our Kind of People is executive produced by Gist and Claire Brown via The Gist of It Productions; Daniels and Marc Velez via Lee Daniels Entertainment; Pam Williams; Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Rodney Ferrell via Propagate; and Montrel McKay.
Ellis is known for her memorable guest-starring role as unsung NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson on NBC’s Timeless. She was a series regular on BET’s comedy Let’s Stay Together and Netflix’s The Greenhouse Academy and recurred on Showtime’s Shameless. She is recurs on the upcoming CW series All American: Homecoming. In her 20-year dance career, she led the Dynamites in the film Hairspray, danced with Beyoncé at the VMAs and got her start as one of the original Pussycat Dolls. Ellis is repped by BRS/Gage Talent Agency.
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