The Grammy Award winning artist has been cast as the lead in a planned TV adaptation of the 1974 book series Black Samurai by Marc Olden
Olden’s original series detailed the story of Robert Sand, a man rescued by a Samurai master who trained Sand for seven years, thus creating the Black Samurai. After enduring vehement racism within the military, and seeing his brothers and master slaughtered at the hands of terrorists, Sand embarks on a mission to slay the corrupt and prevent them from destroying all that he loves.
Olden’s series ran for 8 books and was adapted into a 1977 film of the same name, starring martial arts film star Jim Kelly, known for his role as Williams in the 1973 film Enter the Dragon.
Now, according to Variety, a TV series of Black Samurai is currently in the works and searching for a network to pick up the project. Once a network is officially on board the show will be in search of a writer and director for the series, and with Common taking on the roll of Robert sands, executive producer Andre Gaines is hopeful that Common’s well known name will attract the interest of many.
Gaines has likened the protagonist of the series to a “black Jason Bourne” stating that the series is “one of the most unique, timely, and fun experiences [Gaines] has ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity.”
Along with Gaines, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan is also attached to the project as an executive producer. This is not RZA’s first venture into the world of martial arts. The acclaimed musician wrote, directed and starred in the 2012 film The man with the Iron Fist as well as its 2015 sequel. On RZA’s involvement in the project, Gaine’s stated “There is a long tradition and storied relationship between hip-hop and martial arts. Having RZA and the WuTang brand on board to executive produce will validate the series even more and mobilize the fans.”
This new project follows the announcement of another visual adaptation of Marc Olden’s work with Idris Elba’s (Pacific Rim, Luther) Green Door Pictures currently developing a Film trilogy based on Olden’s “Poe Must Die” which depicts a fictional tale of Edgar Allen Poe’s battle with demonic forces.
For those who want a glimpse of Common’s action prowess, he will be playing Monster T in the upcoming Suicide Squad in theaters August 5, 2016 and will take on the role of a villain in the 2017 sequel John Wick: Chapter 2.