A little more than a year ago, the History Channel announced it had acquired the film rights to Roots. Until now there has been little development. Deadline.com, a popular breaking news site that covers the Hollywood film industry, reported that director Allen Hughes, best known for his 1990s features’ Menace II Society and Dead Presidents, has been hired to direct the remake of the mini-series. Two screenwriters, Mark Rosenthal and Larry Konner (The Sopranos), have been hired to pen the script. The executive producers include Hughes and Mark Wolper, son of David L. Wolper, the producer of the original mini-series. To his credit, Mark produced the TV version of Alex Haley’s Queen & The Gift (which was based on Haley’s 1988 novella, A Different Kind of Christmas).
In case the remake wasn’t enough, there is another Roots-influenced film in the works. Showing Roots, which will star Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba, is about “a small Southern town in 1977 whose balance is turned upside down when the slavery miniseries Roots hits the airwaves.” This movie is much further ahead in production, with a complete cast and crew in place. Filming is already underway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It will be directed by well-known theater director, Michael Wilson. Showing Roots will be his first feature film. There has been no mention of a release date or whether it will be shown in movie theaters or go straight to television. The movie will feature Cicely Tyson, who played Kunta Kinte’s mother in the original Roots mini-series.
Expect these movies in their marketing campaigns to take full advantage of the approaching 40th anniversary of Roots (2017).
For all jazz lovers, there’s a new CD/digital album of Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s final tour together before their split. The four-CD box set features Davis’ classic “Round Midnight” and “So What” among others. Click here for the review.
The audiobook version of Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey is now available in iTunes and Amazon’s Audible stores. A little more than two hours in length, veteran narrator Mark Westfield did an excellent job of capturing the tone of this story. If you’re interested in reviewing the book on Amazon or iTunes, please contact me and I’ll send you a free copy.
Earlier this week, my local paper, The Gilroy Dispatch, published an article about my role as a self publish biographer. Click here for the article.
Meanwhile, Alex Haley’s Roots was reviewed last month in Publishers Weekly’s BookLife. Here’s a short excerpt:
“Henig tracks the life of Alex Haley after the publication of his path breaking book, Roots, offering a sad reminder of the potential downsides to achieving one’s dreams….[and] recounts the highs and lows of Haley’s life with sympathy, addressing the critiques honestly.”
Recently, I was conducting research for my next book using a Microfilm machine. I’ve used them before and with my father’s assistance, we plowed through two full months of the daily newspaper, New York Post. Although Google might be quicker and more efficient to search, I admit it’s not nearly as enjoyable as sitting at a library, lining up the film, and scrolling through an old newspaper.
Finally, if you’re interested in notification about my next book (and those after), sign-up for my email list. I promise I won’t SPAM you or send you a million updates (it will only be book-related and given that I write books every two years, rest assured there will be very few emails sent), and I won’t sell or distribute the list to a third party.