Lee to helm ‘Newton’ for BET

Pic to be produced with PBS, African Heritage net

Spike Lee will direct “A Huey P. Newton Story” for BET Movies and Roger Guenveur Smith, who created a one-man show about the late co-founder of the Black Panther Party, will play Newton.

Film will be produced in association with the Public Broadcasting Service and African Heritage Network.

Smith has appeared in four of Lee’s films — “Summer of Sam,” “He Got Game,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” “Get on the Bus” and “School Daze” — as well as “Eve’s Bayou” and the upcoming Campbell Scott-helmed “Hamlet.” Smith performed his one-man show throughout the East and, in Philadelphia, was nominated for a Barrymore Award for acting. Smith has also done a one-man show based on Frederick Douglass.

Lee has directed only one project for television, “Freak” with John Leguizamo for HBO in 1998.

BET began airing its first slate of original movies last year. The African heritage Network sells national advertising for several suppliers of off-net syndicated programming.

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