NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- British actor Malachi Kirby has nabbed the role of Kunta Kinte in A&E's upcoming Roots remake.
The special event series will follow the story of Kinte and his family as they struggle over several generations to survive as African slaves in the United States. Roots will be a remake of the novel-based series which first aired on ABC in 1977; it later earned 37 Emmy nominations and nine wins.
Author Alex Haley published the formative novel a year before in 1976.
Boardwalk Empire's Lawrence Konner will write the series alongside Mark Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smile), Alison McDonald (Alpha House) and Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy), Screendaily reports. Vickie Thomas (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained) will serve as the series' casting director.
Roots, set for a 2016 television debut, will start shooting in South Africa and New Orleans next month, Deadline reports.
Kirby previously appeared in Gone Too Far, Kilo Two Bravo and eight episodes of the British soap opera EastEnders. He also stars in a leading role in the Menemsha film Dough, which premiered at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in July.