Showtime Re-Shooting Lena Waithe Pilot With New Director, Project Heating Up

Rick Famuyiwa Showtime
Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

The long-gestating Lena Waithe pilot is finally seeing some movement over at Showtime — though not without some changes.

The pilot will be re-shot, and some re-casting is currently under way, Variety has learned.

Rick Famuyiwa will direct the new pilot, replacing Clark Johnson (“Homeland,” “The Wire”). Johnson helmed the original pilot, which was picked up in August 2015 and shot this October in Chicago.

With the new changes in motion, the project is heating up. Insiders say the cabler has ordered additional scripts, and are hopeful for a series order.

The pilot marks Famuyiwa’s first TV series project, though he directed HBO’s Kerry Washington pic “Confirmation.” The “Dope” director was also attached to “The Flash” movie, but dropped out. (Famuyiwa’s involvement on the Showtime project was first reported by Deadline.)

The Chicago-set pilot is described as a relevant, timely, and distinctive coming-of-age story, which revolves around a young African-American man in Chicago’s South Side for whom just growing up can be a matter of life and death.

Waithe created and wrote the hourlong project, which has Common, Aaron Kaplan and Elwood Reid on board as exec producers. Should the project be greenlit to series, Reid will serve as showrunner.

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