Starz Plans 'Black Samurai' TV Series Starring Common

Starz Plans 'Black Samurai' TV Series Starring Common

The planned drama will follow Robert Sand, a highly trained American Army Ranger whose life is transformed when he meets a legendary Japanese master.
Starz is currently developing a drama based on "Black Samurai" novels by Marc Olden. The premium cable network has tapped Common to star in a leading role, while RZA and Jerry Bruckheimer will executive produce.

"We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand-part Jason Bourne, part James Bond, and 100 percent the hero we need today. 'Black Samurai' promises to be an action-packed ride and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre [Gaines] at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling," Starz president of programming Carmi Zlotnik said Tuesday in a statement.

"I'm beyond excited about 'Black Samurai'. This is a unique and special project that offers something rarely seen in art and culture today," Common said. "It's an honor to play the character of Robert Sand and to have my production company Freedom Road Productions partnering with Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, RZA and Starz to deliver something fresh and new to people. I can't wait to dig into this character and the martial arts worlds of gun fu, kung fu, jujitsu and more. Look out world, 'Black Samurai' is coming!"

"I've been a fan of the Robert Sand character since I was a kid, 'Black Samurai' being one of the films that got me into the martial art genre," RZA said. "A chance to combine with Jerry Bruckheimer, Common and Andre Gaines to reintroduce this character to a new generation makes myself and my partner Mitchell Diggs at Wu Films super stoked. With the Wibbs leading the writing team and Starz as our outlet, I'm certain the series will find its fan base."

"We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Starz, Common, RZA and Andre Gaines on 'Black Samurai'," Bruckheimer added. "This incredible creative team will combine all of their talents and experience to bring the classic book series to brand-new life with cutting-edge artistry, music and imagery."

The planned drama will follow Robert Sand (Common), a highly trained American Army Ranger whose life is transformed when he meets a legendary Japanese master who invites him to train as a samurai. After his beloved sensei and samurai brothers are killed by mercenaries, Sand is thrust on a worldwide journey of both revenge and self-discovery.

The network reveals that the drama will be updated from the original novels and subsequent 1977 feature film of the same name which starred Jim Kelly. Starz's version will be a mashup of the spy and martial arts genres and infused with the heart, soul and music of Common and the Wu-Tang Clan, creating a modern-day international action star.

In addition to starring, Common will serve as executive producer alongside Derek Dudley, Shelby Stone and Diane Crafford via his Freedom Road Productions banner. RZA and Mitchell Diggs, meanwhile, will executive produce for Wu Films. Also set to executive produce are Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed for JBTV, James Oh and Andre Gaines. Should the project move forward, Cormac and Marianne Wibberley ("National Treasure", "Bad Boys 2") will pen the script and serve as showrunners.

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