Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star in and produce Onyx Collective’s limited series “The Plot,” as a struggling author who finds success with an act of literary theft and finds himself playing a game of cat and mouse with someone who knows his secret, Disney announced on Monday.
The series landed at Disney’s Onyx Collective after a bidding war across multiple streaming platforms. It will air on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in all other territories.
“The “Plot” is based on the 2021 best-selling novel of the same name by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Korelitz’s book “You Should Have Known,” was adapted into HBO’s 2020 limited series “The Undoing,” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant.
Onyx Collective was launched in 2021 to highlight artists of color and underrepresented voices. Its debut project, Questlove’s award-winning documentary “Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised),” was recently declared “the best film of 2021” by The New York Times.
Executive producers include Ali, Amatus Karim Ali, and Mimi Valdés through their company Know Wonder, Layne Eskridge’s POV Entertainment and Kristen Campo through their respective deals with Endeavor Content, Hanff Korelitz and Abby Ajayi, who also serves as showrunner.
“I was captivated with Hanff Korelitz’s book, ‘The Plot’ and Abby’s distinct point of view reinvents the story in a way that spoke to me and our mission at Onyx Collective. There are so many interesting angles and nuances, that having the creative genius that is Mahershala Ali at the center of this mystery, is just a dream,” stated Tara Duncan, president of Freeform and Onyx Collective. “Kristen and Layne have done a phenomenal job bringing this team together and I could not be more proud to work alongside them and Endeavor Content to bring this incredible series to our global audience.”
“I’m thrilled to be adapting Jean’s brilliantly compelling and thrilling novel, which hooked me from its opening pages. From the start, I knew that the peerless Mahershala Ali would be the perfect Jake. I’m excited by the nuance, the humanity and the complexity he’ll bring to the role,” said Ajayi in a statement. “Going on this journey with Layne, Kristen and the teams at Know Wonder and Endeavor Content has been a dream. The icing on the cake is finding our home with Tara Duncan at Onyx.”
“Hollywood is still not greenlighting enough projects with multidimensional Black characters, stories that simply focus on our humanity. The rarity of a straight-to-series order, especially for BIPOC projects, is not lost on us,” Valdés said. “We are beyond humbled to work with such an amazing team of collaborators to bring this incredible book to life.”
“When Kristen Campo sent me ‘The Plot,’ I devoured it! I’ve been dying to work with Abby Ajayi, and we loved the idea of exploring Jean’s book from the perspective of a Black man, so that we could really debate the themes of authorship, inspiration and who has the right to tell what stories. Mahershala was our dream for the role, and when he and the Know Wonder team signed on, it confirmed that we were building something next level,” added Layne Eskridge.
Mahershala Ali is represented by WME, Relevant and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Layne Eskridge is represented by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.
Abby Ajayi is represented by CAA, 42 and Ziffren Brittenham.
Deadline first reported Ali’s casting.