Netflix’s Octavia Spencer-led limited series “Madam CJ Walker” has added a few more famous faces to its cast, including Tiffany Haddish, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, Carmen Ejogo and Kevin Carroll.
Created by Nicole Jefferson Asher, the four-part show “tells the untold, culturally important, and highly relevant story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam CJ Walker and how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and family challenges to become America’s first black, self-made female millionaire,” according to the streaming service.
Spencer stars as Sarah Breedlove a.k.a. Madam CJ Walker, and will executive produce the show, which is set to launch in 2020.
Here are the character descriptions for the new cast members, each in Netflix’s own words:
Haddish (“The Kitchen”) will play Lelia, the smart and feisty daughter of Sarah Breedlove and her late first husband. Raised by her single, hard-working mother, she is eager to be independent. After falling in love and marrying the feckless John Robinson, she frequently finds herself coming to her husband’s defenses.
Ejogo (“True Detective,” “Selma”) will play Addie, a hairstylist and former friend of Sarah Breedlove. She is a savvy business woman herself, who parlays her good looks and social standing into a profitable African American hair care business. Fiercely competitive, when she quickly dismisses Sarah’s ambitions to be one of her sales women, charting a course to become Sarah’s nemesis and rival.
Underwood (“When They See Us”) will play Chares James Walker, Sarah’s husband. He’s incredibly supportive and encouraging of his wife’s hair product business, which he helps her run. CJ has a way of calming Sarah down and soothing her worries, but he grows concerned about her increasing stress over the ups and downs of her business.
Morris (“Shameless”) will play Cleophus, CJ’s father, and a former slave who comes to live with CJ and Sarah. He gets along well with Sarah and helps in her hair product business.
Carroll (“Snowfall”) will play Ransom, a Pullman porter whose many degrees include law and patents from Columbia University. When he agrees to help Sarah with her hair product patents and becomes the company lawyer, he does his best to pull her back from what he feels is a risky expansion and efforts.
Asher writes and co-executive produces “Madam CJ Walker,” with Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson writing, executive produce and acting as showrunners. Kasi Lemmons is directing the pilot and also executive producing. Other executive producers include Spencer, Christine Holder, Mark Holder, with LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Jamal Henderson for SpringHill Entertainment.
“Madam CJ Walker” is inspired by the book “‘On Her Own Ground'” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter. The series is produced by SpringHill Entertainment and Zero Gravity in association with Warner Bros. Television.