If you haven’t already heard, the 1970s television landmark, Roots, is getting remade.
The original miniseries aired over the course of eight nights in 1977. Based on African-American writer Alex Haley’s 1976 bestseller, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the miniseries and the novel dramatize Haley’s family lineage, beginning with his ancestor Kunte Kinte in Gambia.
As Barbara Maranzani explains on History.com, Roots was one of the most important television events of all time. “Movie theaters shut down, while bars and living rooms filled; dozens of civic leaders across the country declared a celebratory ‘Roots’ week in honor of the program; millions of Americans were inspired to trace their own lineages; and America was forced to confront the brutal reality of slavery and the lingering scars it had left on the nation.” In total, an estimated 130 million Americans tuned in.
We previously reported, our own Questlove was on board as the executive music producer of the remake, in which he’ll “create the authentic African sound and themes for the characters as well as produce the overall sound as the music progresses each night,”
Today, HISTORY announced its Roots remake will premiere this Memorial Day (Monday, May 30), as part of a four-night, eight-hour event series developed by HISTORY, from A+E Studios.
They’ve also unveiled the series’ stunning first trailer. You may recognize a few familiar faces. Appearing in the Roots remake is Forest Whitaker (“Fiddler”), Anna Paquin (“Nancy Holt”), Laurence Fishburne (“Alex Haley”), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“Tom Lea”), Anika Noni Rose (“Kizzy”), T.I. (“Cyrus”); Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Belle”), Matthew Goode (“Dr. William Waller”), Mekhi Phifer (“Jerusalem”) and James Purefoy (“John Waller”). The roles of Chicken George and Kunta Kinte will be played by newcomers Regé-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby.
Get your first taste of the HISTORY’s Roots miniseries below. Keep up with the series on Facebook.
Update March 7, 2016: HISTORY has just released a pair of new teasers for the series, “Protecting Your Name” and “Know His Name.” Watch them both below.