While promoting his upcoming film opposite Lena Headey and Karl Urban in “Dred 3-D” actor Wood Harris mentioned to Blackfilm.com that he’s set to play Malcolm X in the Lifetime film, “Betty and Coretta.”
Harris joins a cast that includes Angela Bassett, Ruby Dee, Mary J. Blige, and Malik Yoba.
The story tells the dual stories of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Betty Shabazz as they carry on as single mothers following the assassinations of their husbands, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Bassett will play King opposite Mary J. Blige, who co-stars as Shabazz. Dee will appear onscreen as a historical witness to narrate the duo’s story as someone familiar with the events of both their lives. Yoba plays Martin Luther King Jr.
Larry Stanitsky, Blige, Jaja Johnson and Polly Anthony are on board to executive produce the project, with Shem Bitterman and Ron Hutchinson attached to pen the project; Yves Simoneau will direct.
Harris, who is known for his role as drug kingpin Avon Barksdale on the HBO television drama The Wire and playing opposite Denzel Washington in 2000′s Remember The Titans, is no stranger to playing real-life figures. The Chicago native played legendary musician Jimi Hendrix in the 2000 Showtime feature film ‘Hendrix.’ He also played Ace in the 2002 film ‘Paid in Full,’ which was based on the true story of three legendary Harlem drug kingpins. His character was based on Azie “AZ” Faison.
In speaking with Blackfiilm.com about being prepared to play the black activist Malcolm X, Harris stated, “I’m surprisingly very prepared for the role. When I auditioned for New York University and I got in, I used my Malcolm X speech. I was very much into being Malcolm. I think people will be surprised to see me as Malcolm X because I’d probably do a great job at it.”
Production on ‘Coretta and Betty’ will begin this month in Montreal.