Forest Whitaker to star in crime/drama series Godfather of Harlem

Last year we heard about a potential series which would tell the true story of '60s crime boss Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson. At the time it was said that Forest Whitaker (BLACK PANTHER) was looking to take on the lead role, and it appears that everything has fallen into place. THR reports that Whitaker will star in the series, titled Godfather of Harlem, which Epix has given a ten-episode, straight-to-series order.

In the 1960s, Bumby Johnson (Whitaker) returned to the streets of Harlem after spending the past ten years in prison. Finding the neighbourhood he onced ruled in shambles and 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." Chris Brancato & Paul Eckstein (Narcos) will serve as writers and executive producers, with Brancato also serving as showrunner on the series. In a statement, Forest Whitaker said:

Godfather of Harlem is a show with powerful relevance to the issues we face today — gang violence, police brutality, opioid addiction and racial politics in a divided country. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to bring this character to life and to work with Michael Wright, the Epix team, and ABC Signature, alongside excellent writers and producers.

Chris Brancato previously said that Godfather of Harlem will be "an opportunity to examine some of the things that are going on racially right now, but through the prism of the past." It will also serve as somewhat of a prequel to Ridley Scott's AMERICAN GANGSTER, as the character of Bumpy Johnson served as a mentor to Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas.

Source: THR



Latest Entertainment News Headlines