The Wire’s Michael Kenneth Williams has joined Courtney B. Vance and Elizabeth Debicki in J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele’s HBO adaptation of the 2017 social horror novel Lovecraft Country.
Williams, who was last in the remake of Superfly, will play Montrose Freeman, the father of main character Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors). TVLine describes the character as “hard-headed and secretive... he has always believed you can’t live in a fantasy world, which is why he despises his son’s pulp novels.” The show is co-created by Peele and Misha Green, who also co-created the WGN Civil War drama Underground.
The larger story follows Atticus, his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) as they search for Williams’ Montrose. Along the way, they encounter Lovecraftian horrors, but use them to paint the picture of life in America as a black man in the 1950s.
In light of his film Get Out and the currently-in-production Twilight Zone and Candyman remakes, the use of fantastical genre elements as a way to address racism seems to be Jordan Peele’s style. So far, the only other products from his production company Monkeypaw Productions that aren’t a straight comedies are the aforementioned Get Out and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.
Lovecraft County is set to premiere in 2019 on HBO with an episode directed by White Boy Rick’s Yann Demange. The series is executive produced by Ben Stephenson and also stars Wunmi Mosaku and Aunjanue Ellis.