EXCLUSIVE: Mammoth Screen, the British producer behind series including The snake and Poldark, is developing a television series based on the 18th century slave uprising in Haiti.
The story will be told through the eyes of Toussaint Louverture – who helped reverse the international trend against slavery through his actions in Haiti – after Mammoth chose the biography of Sudhir Hazareesingh Black Spartacus: The epic life of Toussaint Louverture.
The book shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize is a comprehensive look at the life of Louverture, a former slave, who went on to become the leader of the colony’s black population, the commander of its Republican army, and ultimately its governor until ‘it is seized by the invading army of Napoleon Bonaparte. in 1802.
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Hazareesingh describes Louverture as a warrior, philosopher, nation builder and founding father of Haiti, characterizing him in the book as “the world’s first black superhero”. Hazareesingh’s biography has been hailed as “a tour de force” by The Guardian.
Mammoth is in the process of hiring a notable screenwriter to lead the adaptation. Tom Leggett is executive producer alongside Mammoth founder Damien Timmer. Sherie Myers (I can destroy you) is the producer of development.
“Black spartacus is an astonishing story of an extraordinary man, Toussaint Louverture. His actions in the Haitian revolution changed the course of human history, reversing the trend against slavery and oppression across the world. We are extremely honored that Sudhir has entrusted us with the putting on screen of his superb, meticulously studied book, ”said Legget and Myers.
Mammoth, backed by ITV Studios, is one of the UK’s busiest script producers. His Netflix / BBC series The snake racked up 31 million streams for iPlayer last month, while the second season of McDonald and Dodds launched Sunday on ITV with 4 million viewers.
The company is currently working with Call me by your name Helmer Luca Guadagnino to adapt the classic Evelyn Waugh novel Brideshead revisited. The BBC is on board, while HBO is the frontrunner to co-produce the project in the United States.