Common to Star in RZA-Produced 'Black Samurai' TV Series

Hip-hop legends Common and RZA are teaming up to bring Marc Olden's "Black Samurai" to television.

Common will star as Robert Sand, an American GI who is shot while on leave in Tokyo, only to be rescued by a mysterious Japanese man named Master Konuma and trained in martial arts. After Konuma is slaughtered, the eponymous Black Samurai embarks on a mission of revenge, hunting down the people who killed his master. RZA, best known as the leader of the Wu-Tang Clan, will serve as executive producer.

"Black Samurai" is being spearheaded by Andre Gaines and is based on Olden's original 1974 novel, not the 1977 film adaptation. "Robert Sand is like black Jason Bourne," Gaines said to Variety. "'Black Samurai' is one of the most unique, timely and fun experiences I’ve ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity."

"Black Samurai" is yet another promising project for Common, who recently starred in "Barbershop: The Next Cut" and NBC's "The Wiz Live!" Common is also set to appear in "John Wick: Chapter Two" and this summer's supervillain slugfest "Suicide Squad" as a character named Monster T. In 2015, Common and John Legend won the Oscar for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for "Glory," part of the soundtrack for "Selma."

RZA is no stranger to martial-arts themed entertainment. The Wu-Tang Clan got its name from the 1983 movie "Shaolin and Wu Tang," while the title of the group's first album, "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," references the classic kung-fu flick "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin." He also directed and starred in 2012's "The Man with the Iron Fists."

"Black Samurai" is currently being shopped to various networks. Writers and directors have yet to be announced.

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