Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer has officially joined the cast of upcoming limited series revolving around the life of entrepreneur and social activist Madame C.J. Walker. Nicole Asher is on board to write and co-exec produce and Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) will direct the pilot and also exec produce.
The limited series will be produced by LeBron James through his production company, Spring Hill Entertainment. James will be producing alongside his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter. This will be the first scripted drama on it’s content slate.
According to Variety, Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination.
The limited series adaptation will be based on the bestselling biography On Her Own Ground, the story of legendary African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and first self-made African-American female millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker. The book was published in 2002 by Scribner, and is described as the definitive biography of Walker, written by her great-great-granddaughter.
Walker was the daughter of slaves, and was orphaned at seven, married at 14 and widowed at 20. She spent the better part of the next two decades laboring as a washerwoman for $1.50 a week. Then — with the discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women — everything changed. By her death in 1919, Walker managed to overcome astonishing odds, building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism. Along the way, she formed friendships with great early 20th century political figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.
“I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”
“It’s so exciting for all of us to keep building SpringHill, see it mature, and continue to find its voice. We are really focused on growing with authenticity and substance,” Carter said. “For us, this is totally about great stories and great partners. Partnering with Octavia to tell the story of Madam C.J. Walker is the ideal first project for SpringHill to take an important step into scripted drama.”
Zero Gravity and Warner Bros. will partner on the production. The Holders (through Zero Gravity), James and Carter (through SpringHill), and Spencer (through her production company Orit Entertainment) will all serve as exec producers with Asher on board as a co-exec producer.
With all of the powerhouse talent behind this project, we look forward to the re-telling of this amazing story!