Apple has ordered the limited series “The Big Cigar” about Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton, Variety has learned.
The six-episode series hails from Warner Bros. Television, with André Holland in talks to star as Newton. Jim Hecht, who recently created “Winning Time” at HBO, serves as writer and executive producer. Janine Sherman Barrois, the showrunner for shows like “Claws” and “Self Made” and the creator and showrunner of “The Kings of Napa” at OWN, will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Don Cheadle is onboard to direct and executive produce the first two episodes.
Based on the Playboy article of the same name by Joshuah Bearman, “The Big Cigar” tells the true story of how Newton relied on his best friend, Bert Schneider — the Hollywood producer behind “Easy Rider” — to elude a nationwide manhunt and escape to Cuba while being pursued into exile by the FBI.
Hecht co-wrote the story for the series with Bearman, with Bearman also executive producing. Sherman Barrois executive produces under her Folding Chair Productions banner, which has an overall deal at WBTV. Joshua Davis and Arthur Spector also executive produce via Epic, a division of Vox Media Studios.
Holland is best known for his role in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” in which he played Kevin. He has also previously starred in critically-acclaimed features like “42” and “Selma,” as well as shows like “The Eddy,” “The Knick,” “Castle Rock,” and Season 6 of “American Horror Story.”
He is repped by WME and Anonymous Content.
“The Big Cigar” marks Cheadle’s latest outing as a director as he expands his presence behind the camera in addition to his numerous acting roles. He previously directed multiple episodes of his popular Showtime series “House of Lies” as well as his Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead.”
He is repped by UTA and Viewpoint.
“The Big Cigar” is now the third series order for WBTV at Apple, following the hit comedy “Ted Lasso” and the upcoming series “Shrinking,” with Jessica Williams and Harrison Ford recently confirmed as cast members on the latter series alongside star and co-writer Jason Segel. The new show is also the second collaboration between Apple, Epic, and Bearman. Bearman and Epic currently produce the critically-acclaimed Apple anthology series “Little America,” which is due back for a second season.