Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel is to star alongside Hollywood veteran – and the star of US comedy classic Roseanne – John Goodman in new BBC2 drama Black Earth Rising.
The thriller, about the prosecution of international war crimes and the personal, legal and political storm it ignites, sees Coel playing Kate Ashby, a woman who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Harriet Walter), a world class British prosecutor in international criminal law.
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Kate was raised in Britain and, now in her late twenties, works as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis (played by Goodman) at the start of the drama. When her adoptive mother takes on a case at the International Criminal Court, prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a “journey that will upend their lives forever” according to the BBC.
The fictional drama series has been written, directed and produced by Hugo Blick (The Honourable Woman, The Shadow Line) and also stars Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Devil’s Advocate), Lucian Msamati (Taboo, Kiri) and Abena Ayivor (A United Kingdom).
Michaela Coel said: “Kate Ashby’s story is inspirational, it was an honour to play a character in possession of so much strength and integrity”.
Writer and director, Hugo Blick added: “’The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past’. I was never quite sure exactly what this famous quote meant but by following the fictional journey of a young black British woman on an epic and deeply personal quest to bring a Rwandan genocidaire to legal justice – now I do. And now I know just how critical, difficult and terrifying that phrase can seem to anyone in pursuit, and denial, of international criminal justice”.
Black Earth Rising will air on BBC2 later this year