EXCLUSIVE: Rupert Graves (Riviera, Sherlock) has joined Hulu’s anticipated limited series Washington Black as a series regular, with Shaunette Renée Wilson (Indiana Jones 5, The Resident) signing on to a recurring role.
Graves and Wilson join a previously announced series regular ensemble led by Ernest Kingsley Jr. and Sterling K. Brown, which also includes Eddie Karanja, Tom Ellis, Iola Evans, Edward Bluemel and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (Twilight Zone, Strange Adventures) is adapting the nine-episode drama series based on Esi Edugyan’s international bestselling novel of the same name. It will follow the extraordinary 19th-century adventures of George Washington (“Wash”) Black (Kingsley Jr.)—an 11-year-old boy on a Barbados sugar plantation who must flee after a shocking death threatens to upend his life. As previously announced, Brown is playing the gregarious, larger-than-life Medwin Harris, who traveled the world after a traumatic childhood as a Black refugee in Nova Scotia as the de facto Mayor of Black Halifax prioritizes the community over everything except Black, his young protégé. Meeting Wash sends him down a challenging path of self-discovery. And as the barricades around his heart start to fall, Medwin will learn to dream again.
Graves will play Mr. Goff, a British scientist who travels to Nova Scotia with his daughter, Tanna (Evans), after fleeing social stain, the dwindling of fortunes in London, and lessened influence with the Crown. Nova Scotia represents a new start. But Tanna’s resistance to the marriage he’s arranged for her, and her unexpected relationship with our titular hero, forces Goff to consider whether he will prove brave enough to put love first, or let his fears lead him to ruin.
Wilson will portray Big Kit, who is a singular, driving force in Wash’s life. She teaches him to dream in the mythic vernacular of her West African heritage. And she teaches him to fight—because Kit is an engine of constant resistance. Fighting to create choice where none exists… for herself, and for this boy she protects. But can she shield him, or will she ultimately die trying?
Brown is exec producing the series from 20th Television under his Indian Meadows Productions banner, alongside Hinds, The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams and DJ Goldberg, and series writer Jennifer Johnson. Series directors Wanuri Kahiu and Mo Marable also serve as executive producers, along with Anthony Hemingway. Esi Edugyan is co-producing, with Hinds also serving as showrunner.
Graves recently starred opposite Julia Stiles in the Sky series, Riviera, and featured opposite Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the BBC’s Sherlock. Other credits include the BBC miniseries The War of the Worlds, the third season of the hit BBC One series Last Tango in Halifax, the ABC series The Family, and director Autumn de Wilde’s Emma. for Focus Features. He is also known for his acclaimed feature roles in A Room with a View, Maurice, A Handful of Dust, The Madness of King George, Different for Girls and Death at a Funeral.
Wilson recently wrapped filming opposite Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Mads Mikkelsen on James Mangold’s Indiana Jones 5 for Lucasfilm, and previously appeared in Marvel’s Black Panther, from director Ryan Coogler. She was most recently seen in the role of Dr. Mina Okofor in Antoine Fuqua’s Fox medical drama, The Resident, and also also appeared in the “Treehouse” episode of the holiday horror anthology series Into the Dark for Blumhouse Television and Hulu. The Yale School of Drama graduate was awarded the prestigious Princess Grace Award in Theater while in her final year, and booked a nine-episode arc on Season 2 of Showtime’s Billions, opposite Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, immediately upon graduating. She also previously featured in the Sundance 2018 film A Kid Like Jake, opposite Claire Danes and Octavia Spencer.
Graves is represented by APA and United Agents in London; Wilson by CAA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, ImPRint and Fox Rothschild.
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