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Common to Lead Starz ‘Black Samurai’ Series From Jerry Bruckheimer, RZA

Network is developing series based on the novels about an American Army Ranger

Starz is developing an adaptation of the “Black Samurai” book series starring Common, with Jerry Bruckheimer and RZA executive producing.

The action-drama project from Jerry Bruckheimer Television is based on the “Black Samurai” novels by author Marc Olden and follows Robert Sand (Common), an American Army Ranger who trains as a samurai before finding himself on a journey fueled by revenge.

Bruckheimer will executive produce under his Freedom Road Productions banner. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Mitchell Diggs are executive producing for Wu Films.

Also executive producing are Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Diane Crafford, Cinemation’s Andre Gaines and Freedom Road’s Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone. Jerry Bruckheimer Television’s James Oh will produce.

“We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand — part Jason Bourne, part James Bond and 100 percent the hero we need today,” said Starz president of programming Carmi Zlotnik in a statement. “‘Black Samurai’ promises to be an action-packed ride, and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling.”

Showrunners Cormac and Marianne Wibberley (“National Treasure”) are penning the pilot script. The series will be an update to the books and the 1977 film, offering a blend of the spy and martial arts genres.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Starz, Common, RZA and Andre Gaines on ‘Black Samurai,'” said Bruckheimer. “This incredible creative team will combine all of their talents and experience to bring the classic book series to brand new life with cutting edge artistry, music and imagery.”

Common added, “I’m beyond excited about ‘Black Samurai.’ This is a unique and special project that offers something rarely seen in art and culture today. It’s an honor to play the character of Robert Sand and to have my production company, Freedom Road Productions partnering with Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, RZA and Starz to deliver something fresh and new to people. I can’t wait to dig into this character and the martial arts worlds of gun-fu, kung-fu, jujitsu and more. Look out world, ‘Black Samurai’ is coming!”

Bruckheimer, Common, Littman and Wu Films are represented by CAA. Gaines is with Ethan Cohan, Todd Weinstein and Gordon Bobb at Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein and Lezcano. The Wibberleys are repped by UTA.