With its debut at this year’s TIFF, Spike Lee’s “David Byrne’s American Utopia” has proven that HBO doesn’t have to stick with your typical narrative features and TV series to succeed. The premium network/streamer can take risks with projects that don’t adhere to conventional structures or storytelling methods. And it appears that’s exactly what HBO is trying to accomplish with the upcoming adaptation of “Between the World and Me.”
As seen in the teaser for “Between the World and Me,” the adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed, bestselling book isn’t your typical HBO film. In fact, the special uses bits from the 2018 stage play mixed with archival footage, videos of the cast’s home life, and plenty of animation to tell the story of racism in the United States and what it’s like raising a Black child in a world filled with this much hate.
And though the special isn’t your run-of-the-mill movie, there is a pretty stellar cast that is signed on to bring the story to life. It’s silly to go into detail about each and every person that is attached, but here’s a general list of everyone that will be featured in the HBO production: Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angela Davis, Alicia Garza, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Jharrel Jerome, Mimi Jones, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ledisi, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Joe Morton, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Greg Alverez Reid, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Nate Smith, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Olivia Washington, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michelle Wilson, and Oprah Winfrey.
“Between the World and Me” is directed by Kamilah Forbes who also serves as executive producer; executive produced by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Roger Ross Williams. The special premieres on HBO on November 21 at 8 PM ET. You can see the new teaser below.
Here’s the synopsis:
Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special will combine elements of that production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and will once again be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes. It will also incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.