STARZ ANNOUNCES "BLINDSPOTTING" SERIES CAST AND BEGINS PRODUCTION IN OAKLAND AND LOS ANGELES
BENJAMIN EARL TURNER, ATTICUS WOODWARD, JAYLEN BARRON AND CANDACE NICHOLAS-LIPPMAN JOIN SERIES LEAD JASMINE CEPHAS JONES
Santa Monica, Calif. -
Starz announced today it has started production for "Blindspotting," the television series inspired by the provocative and critically-acclaimed Lionsgate film from Rafael Casal (Bad Education, "The Good Lord Bird") and Daveed Diggs ("Snowpiercer," "Hamilton an American Musical," "Black-ish"). Casal will lead "Blindspotting" as showrunner. Produced by Lionsgate Television, the eight-episode, half-hour series will be shot in Oakland and Los Angeles.
Recording artist Benjamin Earl Turner, Atticus Woodward ("Shameless"), Jaylen Barron ("Free Rein," "Shameless") and Candace Nicholas-Lippman ("Good Trouble") have been cast as series regulars alongside series star and Emmy Award(R)-winner Jasmine Cephas Jones ("#Freerayshawn," "Hamilton an American Musical"). Casal will also reprise his character Miles in a recurring role for the series.
"Diggs and I are thrilled to continue our partnership with Lionsgate by expanding the Blindspotting world as a series on STARZ," Rafael Casal said. "This story, the incredible cast and the production are a dream. We are making the kind of show we have long hoped to see on television, centered around just some of the amazing kinds of characters the Bay Area has to offer."
"Figuring out a way to bring The Bay to life in a half-hour comedy space has been so rewarding," Daveed Diggs adds. "Ultimately, this is a story about how a broken prison system affects all of us and, like the film, we're using comedy to talk about very real systemic effects in the country with the largest prison population in the world."
Previously announced, Jasmine Cephas Jones will reprise her lead role as Ashley, a woman who is nipping at the heels of a middle-class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner of 12 years and father of their son, is suddenly incarcerated. Jones is known for her dual roles as "Peggy Schuyler" and "Maria Reynolds" in the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit "Hamilton an American Musical." She has appeared in "Girls" and "Midnight, Texas" and most recently "Mrs. Fletcher" and "#Freerayshawn," which she earned an Emmy(R) Award for. Jones also serves as a producer on the series.
Benjamin Earl Turner is a musician, writer, actor, spoken word artist and alumnus of #BARS Workshop lab series, created by Casal and Diggs, at the Public Theater in New York. Turner will play Earl, who is fresh out of jail and wearing an ankle bracelet while doing a year of house arrest. He is just trying to kill time and lay low. Turner also serves as a writer on the series.
Atticus Woodward, best known for his role in "Shameless," will play Ashley and Miles' sweet, smart and energetic son, Sean.
Jaylen Barron is four-time Young Artist Award-nominated actress who has appeared in shows like "Shake It Up" and "See Dad Run." Her breakout roles in "Shameless" and the Emmy Award(R)-winning series, "Free Rein" have elevated her career and prepared her for the next big role. Barron will play Miles' younger half-sister, Trish, who might be wilder than he is. While she is quite a handful, she is the most loyal and loving person you'll ever meet.
Candace Nicholas-Lippman was discovered by Casal and Diggs through an open Northern Calif. casting call and her spoken-word poetry. She has appeared in several high-profile Los Angeles plays including "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "In The Next Room," which earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Female in LA Scenie Award and LA Weekly Award. Nicholas-Lippman will play Ashley's close friend, Janelle, who is equal parts TOWN as hell and worldly. She has just returned to the neighborhood in Oakland after spending many years in Bali.
"Blindspotting" centers on Ashley, who is nipping at the heels of a middle class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner of 12 years and father of their son, is suddenly incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and humorous existential crisis when she is forced to move in with Miles' mother and half-sister.
The half-hour dramedy "Blindspotting" is executive produced by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, who also starred in the film in addition to writing and producing it. Casal also leads as the series showrunner and will direct an episode.
Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment (One Night In Miami, Anomalisa) reunite with Casal and Diggs as executive producers on the series, along with Emily Gerson Saines, Ken Lee, and Tim Palen of Barnyard. Seith Mann ("#Freerayshawn," "Homeland") also serves as an executive producer and director on the first two episodes of the series.
Senior Vice President of Original Programming Kathryn Tyus-Adair is the executive overseeing "Blindspotting" on behalf of Starz. Maggie Leung is the executive overseeing the series on behalf of Lionsgate.
"Blindspotting" will be available on STARZ in the U.S. and Canada, also airing day and date on the Starzplay International streaming service across Europe, Latin America and Japan.
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Starz (http://www.starz.com/), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is the global media company taking the lead in streaming premium content that spotlights a spectrum of women both in front and behind the camera for audiences worldwide. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ(R) service, including STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, as well as the proprietary and highly rated STARZ app. In 2018, Starz launched its Starzplay international premium streaming platform and, coupled with its Starz Play Arabia venture, has since expanded its global footprint into 50 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India. The essential complement to any subscription platform, STARZ and Starzplay are available across digital OTT platforms and multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies around the world. Starz offers subscribers more than 7,500 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.
Combining the STARZ premium global subscription platform with world-class motion picture and television studio operations, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B) brings a unique and varied portfolio of entertainment to consumers around the world. Its film, television, subscription and location-based entertainment businesses are backed by a 17,000-title library and the largest collection of film and television franchises in the independent media space. A digital age company driven by its entrepreneurial culture and commitment to innovation, the Lionsgate brand is synonymous with bold, original, relatable entertainment for the audiences it serves worldwide.