Starz announced today it has started production for Blindspotting, the television series inspired by the provocative and critically-acclaimed Lionsgate film from Rafael Casal (Bad Education, The Good Lord Bird) and Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer, Hamilton an American Musical, black-ish). Casal will lead Blindspotting as showrunner.
Produced by Lionsgate Television, the eight-episode, half-hour series will be shot in Oakland and Los Angeles.
Recording artist Benjamin Earl Turner, Atticus Woodward (Shameless), Jaylen Barron (Free Rein, Shameless) and Candace Nicholas-Lippman (Good Trouble) have been cast as series regulars alongside series star and Emmy Award-winner Jasmine Cephas Jones (#Freerayshawn, Hamilton an American Musical). Casal will also reprise his character Miles in a recurring role for the series.
“Diggs and I are thrilled to continue our partnership with Lionsgate by expanding the Blindspotting world as a series on STARZ,” Rafael Casal said. “This story, the incredible cast and the production are a dream. We are making the kind of show we have long hoped to see on television, centered around just some of the amazing kinds of characters the Bay Area has to offer.”
“Figuring out a way to bring The Bay to life in a half-hour comedy space has been so rewarding,” Daveed Diggs adds. “Ultimately, this is a story about how a broken prison system affects all of us and, like the film, we’re using comedy to talk about very real systemic effects in the country with the largest prison population in the world.”
Previously announced, Jasmine Cephas Jones will reprise her lead role as Ashley, a woman who is nipping at the heels of a middle-class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner of 12 years and father of their son, is suddenly incarcerated. Jones is known for her dual roles as Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton an American Musical. She has appeared in Girls and Midnight, Texas and most recently Mrs. Fletcher and #Freerayshawn, which she earned an Emmy Award for. Jones also serves as a producer on the series.
Benjamin Earl Turner is a musician, writer, actor, spoken word artist and alumnus of #BARS Workshop lab series, created by Casal and Diggs, at the Public Theater in New York. Turner will play Earl, who is fresh out of jail and wearing an ankle monitor while doing a year of house arrest. He is just trying to kill time and lay low. Turner also serves as a writer on the series.
Atticus Woodward, best known for his role in Shameless, will play Ashley and Miles’ sweet, smart and energetic son, Sean.
Jaylen Barron is four-time Young Artist Award-nominated actress who has appeared in shows like Shake It Up and See Dad Run. Her breakout roles in Shameless and the Emmy Award-winning series Free Rein have elevated her career and prepared her for the next big role. Barron will play Miles’ younger half-sister, Trish, who might be wilder than he is. While she is quite a handful, she is the most loyal and loving person you’ll ever meet.
Candace Nicholas-Lippman was discovered by Casal and Diggs through an open Northern Calif. casting call and her spoken-word poetry. She has appeared in several high-profile Los Angeles plays including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and In The Next Room, which earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Female in LA Scenie Award and LA Weekly Award. Nicholas-Lippman will play Ashley’s close friend, Janelle, who is equal parts TOWN as hell and worldly. She has just returned to the neighborhood in Oakland after spending many years in Bali.
Blindspotting centers on Ashley, who is nipping at the heels of a middle class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner of 12 years and father of their son, is suddenly incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and humorous existential crisis when she is forced to move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister.
The half-hour dramedy Blindspotting is executive produced by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, who also starred in the film in addition to writing and producing it. Casal also leads as the series showrunner and will direct an episode.
Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment (One Night in Miami, Anomalisa) reunite with Casal and Diggs as executive producers on the series, along with Emily Gerson Saines, Ken Lee, and Tim Palen of Barnyard.
Seith Mann (#Freerayshawn, Homeland), who directed Jasmine Cephas Jones’ Emmy-winning performance in Freerayshawn, also serves as an executive producer and director on the first two episodes of the series.
Senior Vice President of Original Programming Kathryn Tyus-Adair is the executive overseeing Blindspotting on behalf of Starz. Maggie Leung is the executive overseeing the series on behalf of Lionsgate.
Blindspotting will be available on STARZ in the U.S. and Canada, also airing day and date on the Starzplay International streaming service across Europe, Latin America and Japan.