Forest Whitaker to star in ‘American Gangster’ prequel series
Ten years after Ridley Scott’s movie, the upcoming series “The Godfather of Harlem” tells the story of gangster Bumpy Johnson, the mentor of Frank Lucas, the main character in “American Gangster” played by Denzel Washington. Forest Whitaker is signed up for the lead, according to show creator Chris Brancato.
Forest Whitaker will play Bumpy Johnson during the 1960s, five years before the events portrayed in “American Gangster”. At this time, the gangster was known as the Godfather of Harlem and become close friends with Malcolm X.
According to series creator Chris Brancato (“Narcos”), speaking to Screendaily.com, the show is about the collision between the criminal underworld and the civil rights movement. The series creator is also in talks with rapper Kendrick Lamar to provide music for the show.
Chris Brancato, who co-created “Narcos” for Netflix, is already familiar with the life of Bumpy Johnson, after depicting the character when writing the screenplay for the 1997 movie “Hoodlum”. In the movie, the gangster was played by Laurence Fishburne.
No network is yet linked to the project, but the series creator cites Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu as potential destinations.
Seen recently in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Arrival”, Forest Whitaker is a familiar face on the small screen. He has notably starred in “ER”, “The Shield”, the “Criminal Minds” spinoff “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior”, the “Roots” reboot, and more recently in “Empire”. JB
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