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Starz Developing ‘Black Samurai’ Series Starring Common
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Starz has announced that they are developing an action-drama series based on the Black Samurai novels by author Marc Olden, with Common attached to star.

The series is currently untitled, going under the obvious working title Black Samurai. Olden’s work has been adapted in the past, in the 1977 blaxploitation film of the same name starring the late Jim Kelly. Starz is developing the series with Jerry Bruckheimer and his Jerry Bruckheimer Television.

Common will also executive produce under his Freedom Road Productions, and the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Mitchell Diggs will also executive produce for Wu Films.

Here’s a description of the series from the Starz press release:

Based on the Black Samurai novels written by Marc Olden, the series will follow the character of 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 series will be updated from the original novels and 1977 film. It will be a mash-up 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.

Starz president of programming Carmi Zlotnik said of the news:

“We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand – part Jason Bourne, part James Bond, and 100% the hero we need today. “˜Black Samurai’ promises to be an action-packed ride and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling.”

Added Bruckheimer:

“”We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Starz, Common, RZA and Andre Gaines on “˜Black Samurai.’ 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.”

Common also released a statement, saying:

“I’m beyond excited about “˜Black Samurai.’ This is a unique and special project that offers something rarely seen in art and culture today. 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!”

Finally RZA, who wrote and directed The Man with the Iron Fists and contributed to the musical score and soundtrack for Kill Bill, Blade: Trinity, Django Unchained, Pacific Rim, and more, said:

“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. 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.”

Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, who worked on the story and screenplays for Bad Boys II and National Treasure and its sequel, are the showrunners on the Black Samurai series, and will pen the script for the pilot episode.

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