ACADEMY AWARD WINNER TARELL ALVIN McCRANEY (MOONLIGHT) UNVEILS ENSEMBLE CAST FOR OWN'S NEW ORIGINAL DRAMA "DAVID MAKES MAN," INCLUDING EMMY NOMINEE PHYLICIA RASHAD
Dee Harris-Lawrence Will Serve as Showrunner and Executive Produce Alongside
McCraney, Mike Kelley & Melissa Loy, Michael B. Jordan and Oprah Winfrey
Production on the Warner Horizon Scripted Television Drama to Begin in
Florida This Summer for 2019 Premiere
LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2018) - Continuing its commitment to creating diverse, elevated original programming from the entertainment industry's leading talent, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network today announced the ensemble cast - including Emmy nominee Phylicia Rashad - for its new original drama series David Makes Man, the television debut of Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), produced by Warner Horizon Scripted Television. McCraney wrote the coming-of-age drama and will serve as executive producer alongside Mike Kelley & Melissa Loy (Revenge), Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Oprah Winfrey. Dee Harris-Lawrence (Shots Fired, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.) has been named showrunner and will also join the executive producer team. Production will begin on the drama this summer in Orlando, Florida, for a 2019 premiere.
David Makes Man centers on a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend and relied on by his hardworking mother to find a way out of poverty. He must choose between the streets that raised him or the higher education that may offer him a way out. Set in South Florida, the lyrical drama, inspired by events in McCraney's own life, explores the inherent trauma sustained in the fight for survival.
The cast of David Makes Man includes:
· Akili McDowell (The Astronaut Wives Club) is set to star as David, a young teenager and former block drug dealer from a state housing project in Homestead, Florida, who rides a bus every day to attend a magnet school for academically gifted kids. Aware of the expectations and perceptions other have of him, he has become an expert chameleon who toggles between two distinct personas that reflect his surroundings - but this exacts an emotional price.
· Emmy nominee Phylicia Rashad (Creed, The Cosby Show) stars as Dr. Woods-Trap, a respected and intimidating instructor at David's middle school who is one of those teachers that students remember for the rest of their lives. Her assignments are challenging but rewarding, and her students genuinely like and respect her. Though firm with David, she sees something special in him and becomes his advocate.
Rashad starred in McCraney's play Head of Passes in 2017 and will appear in the upcoming Creed sequel starring Michael B. Jordan.
· Nathaniel Logan McIntyre (Magic Camp and Barry) is set to play the role of David's best friend, Seren. Seren holds painful secrets, and his relationship with David has recently become fraught.
· Broadway actor Isaiah Johnson (Hamilton, The Color Purple) plays the role of David's close friend, Sky, prone to quiz and give David advice.
· Ade Chike Torbert (East Los High) will play Raynan, whose ties to the drug trade drive a wedge between him and David, despite Raynan's desire to connect on behalf of their mutual friend.
· Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders) is set for the role of Shinobi, Raynan's second-in-command who, like Raynan, clashes with David.
· Cayden K. Williams (Girls Trip) will play JG (Jonathan Greg), David's rough-and-tumble younger brother, who is more vulnerable than one might expect.
· Travis Coles (Liza on Demand) will play the genderqueer Ms. Elijah, a longtime Homestead Village resident who watches over David when his mother is away. Ms. Elijah knows all the skeletons of Homestead Village and its residents.
Dee Harris-Lawrence most recently was co-executive producer and writer on the drama series Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., Shots Fired and Star. Before that, she served in the same capacity on series such as Zoo, Detroit 187 and Saving Grace, among others. Her other writing credits include Any Day Now, Kevin Hill, New York Undercover and more.
Playwright, actor and producer Tarell Alvin McCraney received an Academy Award, with director Barry Jenkins, for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2016 film Moonlight, which also won for Best Picture. The movie was based on McCraney's semi-autobiographical script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. McCraney currently serves as the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. This will be his first foray into creating a scripted drama series for television.
Page Fright producing partners Mike Kelley and Melissa Loy have worked on several notable scripted series, including Revenge, where they served as executive producer/showrunner, and executive producer, respectively
Michael B. Jordan has had prominent roles in critically acclaimed films including Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Black Panther as well as on popular television series including Friday Night Lights and The Wire. Last year he launched his own production company, Outlier Productions.
David Makes Man is produced by Page Fright and Outlier Productions in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television.
About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey's heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today's most innovative storytellers. OWN's original scripted series include popular dramas "Queen Sugar," "Greenleaf," "The Have and Have Nots, "If Loving You is Wrong," hit sitcom "The Paynes," new romantic drama "Love Is __" and upcoming dramas "David Makes Man" and "Ambitions." OWN's Saturday night unscripted programming lineup includes "Iyanla: Fix My Life," "Book of John Gray," "Black Love" and recently announced "Ready to Love." OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime, anywhere on WatchOWN.tv or across mobile devices and connected TVs. For more information, please visit www.oprah.com/own.
About Warner Horizon Scripted Television
A division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, Warner Horizon Scripted Television was founded in 2006 and is one of the entertainment industry's leading producers of dramatic and comedic programming for the cable and subscription/on-demand marketplace. Series produced by Warner Horizon Scripted Television include Animal Kingdom and Claws for TNT; American Woman for Paramount Network; Famous in Love and Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists for Freeform; Fuller House for Netflix; Krypton for SYFY; David Makes Man, Love Is___, and Queen Sugar for OWN; Pennyworth for EPIX; and You for Lifetime.