Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and Participant Media have joined the eagerly anticipated TV adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s popular novel series “Noughts & Crosses” as exec producers. Roc Nation will also handle the soundtrack for the show, which is set in an alternate world where there is a ruling class of people of African descent and white people suffer discrimination and prejudice.
“Poldark” producer Mammoth Screen is making the series for the BBC, which now has two major U.S. partners, including socially conscious producer Participant Media. Blackman said Roc Nation and Participant will “bring an extra dimension to the production that I can’t wait to see – and hear.”
The series follows two young people, Sephy and Callum, who are divided by their color but united by burning injustice. Sephy is a “Cross,” a member of the black ruling class and daughter of a prominent politician. Callum is a “Nought,” a white member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses.
“Being Human” creator Toby Whithouse is adapting Blackman’s work, with Julian Holmes (“Daredevil”) directing and Johann Knobel (“Shameless”) producing.
Patrick Reardon will exec produce for Roc Nation. Jay-Z’s company will release the soundtrack to the series. “We are thrilled to partner with Mammoth Screen and Participant Media on this series, which explores issues of race and discrimination through such a provocative and unexpected lens,” Reardon said.
Jonathan King, president of narrative film and television for Participant Media, said: “When we saw ‘Noughts & Crosses,’ we were captivated immediately. Music and popular culture are huge parts of the fabric of the show, and we couldn’t be more excited that Roc Nation is joining the team.”
Mammoth Screen is part of ITV Studios. ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute the series, with a U.S. broadcaster or platform still to come on board. “It is genuinely thrilling to have the Roc Nation team helping create an individual sound for this unique project,” said Mammoth Screen boss Damien Timmer.
Lydia Adetunji (“Riviera”), Nathaniel Price (“Tin Star”), and Rachel De-Lahay (“Kiri”) will write episodes of “Noughts and Crosses.” Kibwe Tavares (“Jonah”) is among the exec producers, alongside Jeff Skoll and Miura Kite for Participant, Preethi Mavahalli for Mammoth, and Ben Irving for the BBC.
The fifth novel in Blackman’s “Noughts & Crosses” series, “Crossfire,” will be published by Penguin Random House next summer.