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Idris Elba to star in John Ridley-directed civil rights drama on Showtime

on April 20, 2016, 4:10pm

The racial crime drama has surprisingly become one of TV’s most popular genres, thanks in part to John Ridley’s American Crime and FX anthology American Crime Story, which focuses on the O.J. Simpson trial. Well, it’s time to add one more to the mix.

Ridley is teaming up with Idris Elba for a new six-episode Showtime series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Called Guerrilla, the series will be a — you guessed it! — racial crime drama focusing on a politically active couple who form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. The couple ultimately aims to take on the Black Power Desk, a secretive counter-intelligence unit dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism, which is a real-life thing because the world is a terrible place.

The good news is that this sounds like another potentially intense role for Elba, who recently played the unrepentant bad dude in 2015’s Beasts of No Nation and the unrepentant bad tiger in Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book. Hey, if we can’t have Bond, we’ll take what we can get.

Ridley, whose recent writing credits includes ABC’s American Crime and the 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave, will write the majority of Guerrilla and direct the first two episodes. Elba has also signed on as an executive producer via his Green Door Pictures banner. The drama, which is scheduled to begin production in London late this summer, marks the first time the pair has worked together.

“It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and storytelling. TV is in for a treat,” Elba said.

Ridley also kind words for his partner, stating, “I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’ passion toward bringing this story to life. I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the producorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.”

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