Ava DuVernay, whom we know as the director of Selma, will direct and executive produce For Justice, a dramatic pilot for CBS. DuVernay has already dedicated herself to directing OWN’s upcoming series (and Oprah starrer) Queen Sugar.
Ken Jeong, who is actually a certified medical doctor in real life, will star in the pilot Dr. Ken. The ABC pilot will feature Jeong in a semi-biographical role as a doctor who doesn’t have a good grasp on his career, not to mention his marriage and fatherly duties. Some would say that this pilot is already benefitting from the Fresh Off the Boat Effect, as well as the Empire Effect. Diversity is in, after all.
Orlando Jones and Naom Dromi, his Drive-By Entertainment production partner, have optioned the rights to create a movie based on the life of cult deprogrammer Ted Patrick. Patrick’s work at saving the minds of those affected by cults was so profilict that he was known as the “father of deprogramming.” Jones will play Patrick in the film.
Octavia Spencer has been cast in Seacole, a biopic about the Mary Seacole, the Jamaican doctor who played a big part in the Crimean War, despite the prejudice she faced. Spencer will be back once again with the producer of The Help Brunson Green.
Blair Underwood has bought the movie rights to David R. Stokes’ best-selling book, Camelot’s Cousin: The Spy Who Betrayed Kennedy. Underwood will also produce and star in the film. Underwood optioned the rights with Little Studio Films and his production company, Intrepid Pictures. Underwood will play Templeton Davis, a media personality/scholar who works to make sense of the events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis and figure out if one of Kennedy’s closest friends was, in fact, working for Russia.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw will act opposite Matthew McConaghuey in Free State of Jones. The film is based on the real life story of anti-Confederacy rebel Newton Knight and Rachel a slave during the Civil War. It’s not made clear by the article, but one can assume that the film is based on the book by Victoria E. Bynum called The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, which outlines the history of Woods County, Mississippi and its possible secession from the Confederacy to set up a colony of whites and free blacks. The colony, along with Knight’s relationship with Rachel, set up a community where race was muddled.
Yaya DaCosta has been cast to star in NBC’s Chicago Med, the second spin-off from Chicago Fire. You’ll be introduced to DaCosta’s character Maggie Seaver (who is also Firefighter Kelly’s [Taylor Kinney] new girlfriend) and the rest of the cast on the 19th ep. of the current season of Chicago Fire
Gina Rodriguez will replace Kerry Washington in MGM’s romantic comedy, Is He the One? Rodriguez will play a bride, Alex Kelly, who thinks back to the three loves she’s had, despite her wedding about to happen at any second. She’s not sure if the man she’s planning on marrying is actually the person she should be marrying.
Laverne Cox has been cast in upcoming CBS pilot Doubt. She will play transgender attorney who becomes romantically entangled with her client, although he might be guilty of a horrifying crime.