Showtime’s upcoming TV comedy pilot based on Rick Famuyiwa’s 1999 film, The Wood has set its cast. Richard T. Jones and Tamala Jones are set to reprise their roles as Slim and Tanya and they will join newly cast Melvin Gregg, Xavier Mills, Karen Obilom, Vince Staples, and Essence Renae.
The project comes from the film’s director Rick Famuyiwa, Justin Hillian and Showtime sibling Paramount Television Studios. Famuyiwa will return to direct the pilot while Hillian, will write the script.
The potential Showtime series will explore friendship and dating from the distinct perspectives of three young Black men born and raised in the gentrifying L.A. suburb of Inglewood, referred to by locals as the City Of Champions. As the city experiences gentrification, the three will have to balance fatherhood, ambition, and loyalty to each other, at a time when their companionship is being tested the most. Set in the present day, new complications, such as social media, are in play for these characters, as well as the loves and lack thereof, in their lives.
Staples is cast 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. Mills will play 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).
Brielle is a confident, polished engineer with big dreams of surpassing her humble beginnings.
Gregg 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). 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.
The Wood tv pilot is executive produced by Hillian, Famuyiwa, as well as David Gale and Van Toffler, for Gunpowder & Sky.
The original film, The Wood starred Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, and Taye Diggs. It followed the lives of three longtime friends over a span of a few decades after Diggs’ character Roland who gets cold feet the day before his marriage. Famuyima’s semi-autobiographical film was co-written by Todd Boyd, and also featured Sanaa Lathan, LisaRaye McCoy, and Malinda Williams. It grossed $25 million at the box office on a budget of $6 million.