EXCLUSIVE: Relativity is acquiring worldwide rights to Blackbird, which The Secret Life Of Bees helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood will direct from her script. Relativity will finance the film and distribute. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is producing with Stephanie Allain. The film is to star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker and Danny Glover. Blackbird is the story of Noni Jean, a hot new artist who has just won a Grammy and is primed for stardom. But the pressures of success compel her to nearly end her life until she is saved by a young police officer. They fall hard for each other, despite the protests of their parents who want each to focus on their own career ambitions. But he might be the missing piece to unlock her artistic potential.
Relativity president Tucker Tooley is exec producing with Matt Alvarez and Reggie Bythewood. Mbatha-Raw is represented by CAA, Principal Entertainment and Curtis Brown; Parker is repped by WME and ROAR and Glover by ICM Partners and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Griffin Nilon Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: They kicked butt on their previous shows, now they’re going toe-to-toe. British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the breakout star of J.J. Abrams’ short-lived NBC spy dramedy Undercovers, has landed the female lead opposite 24 alum Kiefer Sutherland in the Fox drama pilot Touch, written by Tim Kring. The project, which is considered a lock for a midseason series order, centers on Martin (Sutherland), who discovers that his genius son Jake (David Mazouz) is communicating with him through a complex series of numbers and may even be able to predict events before they happen. Mbatha-Raw will play Clea Hopkins, a social worker with Child and Family Services, who is evaluating Martin’s living situation to determine whether or not his son Jake should remain in the home. Mbatha-Raw completes the pilot’s core four-member cast, which also includes Danny Glover. Mbatha-Raw, repped by CAA, Principal and UK’s Curtis Brown, will next be seen in Larry Crowne.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Is a spy drama with two black actors as the male-female romantic leads a revolution for network television? At TCA today, the producers of NBC’s upcoming Undercovers, which is just such a show — hemmed and hawed in answering the question that really shouldn’t be a question in 2010 but, well, still is.
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