EXCLUSIVE: Alessandro Nivola is set to co-star alongside André Holland in Apple TV+’s The Big Cigar, a six-episode limited series that will chronicle the story of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton’s escape to Cuba.
The series will be showrun and executive produced by NAACP Image Award winner Janine Sherman Barrois, with Holland starring as Newton and Don Cheadle on board to direct and executive produce the first two episodes. The growing ensemble cast also includes Tiffany Boone.
With the first episode written and executive produced by Jim Hecht and based on the eponymous Playboy article from Joshuah Bearman, The Big Cigar tells the extraordinary, hilarious, almost-too-good-to-be-true story of how Newton relied on his best friend, Bert Schneider (Nivola), the Hollywood producer behind Easy Rider, to elude a nationwide manhunt and escape to Cuba while being pursued into exile by the FBI.
The series hails from Warner Bros. Television, where Sherman Barrois and her Folding Chair Productions are under an overall deal. The drama is executive produced by Hecht and Sherman Barrois, as well as Bearman, Joshua Davis, and Arthur Spector, through their production company Epic, a division of Vox Media Studios.
This marks the latest collaboration for Apple TV+ and Warner Bros. Television following the global hit comedy Ted Lasso, winner of seven Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series; the upcoming new comedy Shrinking, starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford, with Segel, Bill Lawrence, and Brett Goldstein writing and executive producing; and the upcoming Bad Monkey, a new drama from Lawrence and star/executive producer Vince Vaughn.
The Big Cigar is the second collaboration for Epic and Apple TV+. It joins the returning award-winning series Little America produced by Bearman, Spector, along with Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Lee Eisenberg, Alan Yang, and Academy Award-winner Siân Heder.
Nivola recently wrapped production on JC Chandor’s Marvel film Kraven The Hunter opposite Russell Crowe, Aaron Taylor Johnson and Ariana DeBose. Other films out this year include David O Russell’s Amsterdam; The Boston Strangler in which he starring opposite Keira Knightly; Jeff Baena’s indie comedy Spin Me Round with Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza; and, Noah Baumbach’s White Noise alongside his two children Sam and May Nivola.
He is repped by CAA, Range Media Partners and Independent Talent in the UK.
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