In his first series regular role since 2014, Martin Lawrence has signed on to star in the English-language adaptation of the acclaimed Israeli HOT original series “Nehama,” from Topic Studios.

The series tells the story of a happily married father of five (Lawrence) who quits his suffocating job in tech to chase his original love of stand-up comedy. When his wife suddenly dies, he must decide whether he should pursue his dream and risk losing his kids — who are lost without their mother. Described as “hilarious, intelligent, and raw,” the series examines what it means “to seek pleasure and find comfort in the face of tragedy and tackles the timeless challenge of ‘wanting to have it all’ from a uniquely male perspective, with some twists along the way.”

Lawrence takes on the lead role in the soon-to-be titled dark comedy and will produce through his production company, RunTelDat Entertainment, alongside 24 Drafts Studio and Topic Studios, the award-winning entertainment studio from First Look Media.

“’Nehama’ has heart and real-life complications that drew me to the project,” Lawrence said, announcing the new project and its focus on a contemporary African American family. “I am looking forward to getting back to TV, and this is a perfect fit.”

“Nehama” was created by Reshef Levi (“The Arbitrator”) and Tomer Shani (“Very Important Person”), who also directed the series, with Yoav Gross (“The Good Cop”) producing. Levi, Shani and Gross will partner with an American writer on the adaptation, plus Levi and Gross will executive produce for 24 Drafts, with Shani.

In 2020, Topic Studios acquired the rights to develop the English-language adaptation, with Topic Studios’ SVP of Original Series Quan Phung bringing the project to the studio. Phung will executive produce the series alongside Topic Studios’ Maria Zuckerman and Michael Bloom. Martin Lawrence, Robert Lawrence and Rae Proctor will executive produce, and Stacy Lyles will produce for RunTelDat Entertainment.

“We’re so thrilled that the iconic Martin Lawrence will reimagine ‘Nehama’ with us,” Topic Studios president Maria Zuckerman stated. “Just as Reshef Levi hilariously embodied the original namesake character’s pathos and idiosyncrasies, we can’t wait to see where Martin’s immense talent and the creative team take the character in exploring fatherhood and what it takes to lead a fulfilling life.”

The original 10-episode series opened the 2019 Canneseries TV Festival, winning the best performance award for creator and star Levi. The critically acclaimed show (particularly throughout Israel and France) went on to win two Israeli Emmy Awards, including best comedy series.

“We created the original ‘Nehama’ series about our love of comedy, storytelling, and our admiration of our wives,” Levi and Gross added. “After HOT initially recognized the huge potential, we thought nothing bigger could happen. But now when a great master like Martin Lawrence wants to work with us on a new US version with Topic Studios – we feel blessed to have this dream come true.We’re sure that this new multi-cultural collaboration will make an even better series.”

The “Nehama” adaptation marks Lawrence’s first regular television series, and a turn at a more dramatic comedy role, since the 2014 FX sitcom “Partners,” where he starred opposite Kelsey Grammer. But, in terms of television, the performer is best known for his groundbreaking comedy series “Martin,” which ran from 1992-1997 and earned Lawrence two NAACP Image Awards as best actor in a comedy series and two best comedy series honors.

Lawrence burst onto Hollywood scene in the late 1980’s, making his breakthrough performance with Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” in 1989, before settling in as host of HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” A massive film career followed, with Lawrence starring in and producing blockbusters including “Big Momma’s House” and its two sequels, “Blue Streak,” and the “Bad Boys” franchise, opposite Will Smith. In 2020, Lawrence reprised his role as Detective Mike Lowery in “Bad Boys for Life,” which grossed more than $426 million worldwide.

The project is the latest on Topic Studios’ slate of scripted television division, including the untitled Vincent Chin project, a scripted drama limited series produced with Amazon Studios and created by Marilyn Fu with Destin Daniel Cretton attached to direct; and two premium dramas arising from the Studios’ previous first-look deal with Tracy Oliver, including the adult thriller “Savannah” with PKM Productions for Amazon Studios. Topic Studios also recently produced the big wave surfing series “100 Foot Wave” for HBO and HBO Max, with a second season ordered, and is one of the studios behind the three-part HBO documentary series “Nuclear Family,” directed by Ry Russo-Young (“Before I Fall”).