Forest Whitaker to Star in Epix Drama Series ‘Godfather of Harlem’

Forest Whitaker will star in a straight-to-series drama at EpixVariety has confirmed.

The series is titled “Godfather of Harlem.” It will tell the true story of crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned after 10 years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy takes on the Genovese crime family to regain control. During the brutal battle, he forms an alliance with radical preacher Malcolm X, catching his political rise in the crosshairs of social upheaval and a mob war that threatens to tear the city apart.

Epix has ordered a 10-episode first season.

Whitaker will also serve as an executive producer via his company Significant Productions. Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein will serve as writers and executive producers. ABC Signature Studios will produce. Production will begin later this year with an eye towards a 2019 premiere.

“We read the script, and met with Chris, Paul and Forest, and knew immediately that this show was perfect for Epix,” said Michael Wright, president of Epix. “It’s an exciting and relevant story, brought to life by passionate, extraordinary talent and a great studio in ABC Signature. It’s exactly the kind of series we want to put on Epix as we build awareness and expand the network’s distribution across the country.”

Whitaker is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Brancato is repped by WME. Eckstein is repped by CAA and Rain Management Group.

The Hollywood Reporter first broke news of the series order.

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