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Whoa! David Harewood In Talks To Play Paul Robeson In Biopic

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 4, 2012 7:09 PM
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REX David Harewood

British actor and currently star of Showtime's hit drama series Homeland, David Harewood, is reportedly in talks to play Paul Robeson in what is said to be an independently-produced biopic on the life of the legendary man behind the voice, the actor, singer, activist, and more, who would've been who would've been 114 years old this year, were he still alive.

The project comes from Four Stars International, and will be produced by Richard Akel and Greg Carter, with a script penned by Akel and Terry Bisson.

No director is attached yet, but the producers are on the hunt for one, with the goal being to shoot the film next year, with Louis Gossett Jr. also attached to star in the film, although it's not yet public what his role will be. 

You might recall my October post on Michael Jai White's revelation that he intended to bring the life story of Paul Robeson to the big screen, with him playing the Robeson, of course.

In that post, he lamented the fact that Robeson's legacy seems to have been forgotten, and suggested that he (Robeson) hasn't been given the proper recognition he deserves, given what he accomplished, calling him a personal as well as a national hero.

When asked whether he'd be involved in front of, or behind the camera, White insisted that he IS the person to play Robeson, adding that it's a part that he can definitely do justice to.

He further went on to say that the project was definitely in the works, that he's attached to it, and it's a personal quest for him to see that it gets done. 

What today's news means for Jai White's plans for his own Robeson project, I can't say; but I assume he'll continue to pursue it. After all, nothing's definite in this business, and even though Harewood's Robeson project has been officially announced, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a done deal.

He still has to accept the role, first of all, given that he's said to be "in talks."

So, David Harewood as Paul Robeson... are you digging the possibility? 

I can already hear calls for the producers to approach Spike Lee to direct; I wouldn't hold my breath on that, but it's not entirely impossible.

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  • ALM | December 13, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    There is something so super sexy about David Harewood to me.

  • Mandla | December 8, 2012 6:37 PMReply

    I think this is an excellent choice. If he's portrayed Othello on the stage it should be right in hi wheel house. Hope he can sing. Robeson had a superior voice. I also hope the production details the friction had with the NAACP.

  • Nadia | December 5, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    Wow I'm surprised nobody has bitched about the fact that a British actor is yet again playing a Black American on film. Maybe we're making progress?

  • Ava | December 5, 2012 5:55 PMReply

    I met David Harewood many moons ago when I was fresh out of college and he was an actor with the NT as they were visiting NYC with Othello and I knew that he was a powerful presence on that stage. I remember too, the level of swooning from some of my colleagues at work, one of them exclaiming 'He is all Man!' and so when he came over to introduce himself (the fact that I was the only Black woman in the place, I guess I was pretty noticeable, a fact that was not lost on him as he mentioned that he actually noticed me in the audience-lol), I was rendered a bit speechless for the moment, I won't go on with the rest of the story as it involved me saying something that I think may have embarrassed us both a bit (it's not what you're all thinking, though).
    If he has any of the presence in this role as Paul Robeson that he had on that stage that night I saw him, he will be a great choice to play such an estimable figure in theater and American culture/society. Hopefully the script and direction will also be up to par.

  • Donella | December 5, 2012 12:18 PMReply

    I've been wondering if he's any relation to Dorian Harewood.

  • julius hollingsworth | December 4, 2012 11:59 PMReply

    I like to see what Michael Jai White would do with Paul Robeson.ICONIC.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | December 5, 2012 12:12 PM

    God no! lol

  • Adam Scott Thompson | December 4, 2012 9:55 PMReply

    Approved. Robeson is one of America's (lost) national treasures. A true Renaissance man. What all these modern multi-hyphenates wish they could be!

  • Troy | December 5, 2012 1:15 PM

    Would you be disappointed if your idols didn't dislike the same people or modern Multi-hyphenates that you do?

  • Marlon Wallace | December 4, 2012 8:38 PMReply

    Love "Homeland" and think Harewood would be great. Discovered Paul Robeson 15 years ago in college and have wanted a feature film on him ever since!

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