Showtime’s comedy pilot based on the 1999 film “The Wood” has set its main cast, Variety has learned exclusively.
Vince Staples, Xavier Mills, Karen Obilom, Melvin Gregg, and Essence Renae will star in the pilot, with Richard T. Jones and Tamala Jones set to reprise their roles as Slim and Tanya respectively from the film.
Rick Famuyiwa, who wrote and directed the film, will direct and executive produce the pilot. It was ordered at Showtime in August 2021. The show is described as an honest look at friendship and dating from the perspective of three young Black males born and raised in the gentrifying L.A. suburb of Inglewood. The trio’s struggles to balance fatherhood, ambition and loyalty force them to question if they are growing apart, or closer together.
Staples (“Lazor Wolf”) will star as Jamal, an aspiring photographer from Ladera Heights, who has been cut off by his upper-class family when he decided to follow his own path instead of going to historic Morehouse College. The role reunites Staples with Famuyiwa, with Staples having appeared in a small role in Famuiyiwa’s feature film “Dope.”
Mills (“Grief,” “Legacies”) stars as Dame, a sheep in wolves’ clothing who is educated and ambitious but frustrated by his lot in life. He’s guarded and emotionally unavailable to everyone except for his high school sweetheart Brielle.
Obilom (“Doom Patrol,” “Games People Play”) will play Brielle. Brielle is a confident, polished engineer with big dreams of surpassing her humble beginnings.
Gregg (“Snowfall,” “Nine Perfect Strangers”) plays Shawn, a Pokémon card reseller weighing the pros and cons of staying loyal to his friends or growing up, settling down and trying to make his relationship work with Ashley.
Renae (“Bosch: Legacy”) plays Ashley. Ashley is the mother of Shawn’s daughter and an aspiring fashion designer who is impervious to his charms and has clear rules and expectations for him as a man and father.
Justin Hillian wrote the script for “The Wood” pilot and also executive produces alongside Famuyiwa. Gunpowder & Sky’s Van Toffler and David Gale also executive produce. Paramount Television Studios will produce. The pilot is currently in production in Inglewood.
(Featured image, from left to right: Vince Staples, Richard T. Jones, Tamala Jones, Melvin Gregg)
(Center image, from left to right: Essence Renae, Xavier Mills, Karen Obilom)
© 2022 PMC. All rights reserved.