Nigél Thatch joins in Epix’s Godfather of Harlem as Malcolm X
Following the recent addition of newcomer Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Deadline reports that Nigél Thatch has been tapped to join in Epix’s upcoming crime drama series Godfather of Harlem starring alongside Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Black Panther). For the second time, Thatch will be playing the role of Malcolm X, having previously appeared as controversial figure in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated film Selma.
Thatch’s Malcolm X in the series is described as a former Harlem hustler who becomes the prime spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and a world-wide icon. His fierce advocacy of eye-for-an-eye violence against white oppression has made him a lightning rod in the civil rights movement, loved by some, hated by many. His former street mentor Bumpy Johnson will become his closest friend, confidant and protector against a score of enemies.
Godfather for Harlem tells the story of crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned after 10 years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy takes on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X — catching his political rise in the crosshairs of social upheaval and a mob war that threatens to tear the city apart. The series is described as a collision of the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement during one of the most tumultuous times in American history.
The film also stars Crowe-Legacy as Elise, Vincent D’Onofrio as Vincent Giganter and Ilfenesh Hadera as Mayme Johnsom.
Whitaker is set to executive produce alongside his Significant Productions banner topper Nina Yang Bongiovi, James Acheson and Markuann Smith along with Chris Brancato (Narcos) and Paul Eckstein, also serving as writers for the ABC Signature Studios project.
Godfather of Harlem serves as Whitaker’s first series regular role since he starred in CBS’ Criminal Minds spinoff Suspect Behavior in 2011. He won the Oscar for his leading role in The Last King of Scotland and had a recurring role on Fox’s Empire. Godfather of Harlem joins a scripted roster for Epix, including drama Berlin Station and comedy Get Shorty. The deal comes after Wright took over the cabler for Mark Greenberg five months ago.