• Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte in the Roots remake. (SBS)Source: SBS
A new adaptation of the book that spawned one of the most-watched programs in TV history is on its way.
By
Nick Bhasin

10 May 2016 - 11:17 AM  UPDATED 10 May 2016 - 11:17 AM

Roots is seriously epic television at its best

For the previous TV watching generation, the 1977 miniseries Roots was a landmark event. Based on the 1976 Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Alex Hayley, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, it’s a quintessential story of American slavery told through one family's perseverance.

And it was extremely popular. It's Australia's 10th most-watched program of the 20th century and remains the most-watched TV drama in US history.

 

It’s co-executive produced by LeVar Burton, the original Kunta Kinte

Before he became Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton starred as the young Kunta Kinte in the original miniseries. And he’s back on board for the remake. “Nearly 40 years ago I had the privilege to be a part of an epic television event that started an important conversation in America,” Burton said. “I am incredibly proud to be a part of this new retelling and start the dialogue again, at a time when it is needed more than ever." 

 

The cast includes Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and TI (TI!)

There’s also Anika Noni Rose (Kizzy); Chad L. Coleman (Mingo); Emayatzy Corinealdi (Belle); Matthew Goode (Dr. William Waller); Derek Luke (Silla Ba Dibba); Mekhi Phifer (Jerusalem); James Purefoy (John Waller); Erica Tazel (Matilda).

The series also introduces Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte and Regé-Jean Page as Chicken George.

Also, a couple of classic Australian directors - Philip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence) and Bruce Beresford (Mao’s Last Dancer, Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant) - direct episodes.

 

It's coming to SBS later this year

The series' arrival is not too far off, but there's enough time to allow your excitement to build. Start the process by watching the intense trailer: