‘Homecoming’ Star Stephan James to Play Jean-Michel Basquiat in TV Drama

Stephan James attends the 4th Annual B.L.A.C.K Ball
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Golden Globe-nominated actor Stephan James has been tapped to play iconic artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in an upcoming limited drama series from Boat Rocker and Bay Mills Studios.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will take place in the 1980s and follow Basquiat’s journey from an obscure graffiti artist in Brooklyn to an icon of the neo-expressionist movement, making him a legend in Manhattan. It will also examine his close friendship with pop artist Andy Warhol and his tragic early death at just 27-years-old.

“We’re grateful to be working with Shamier [Anderson], Stephan and the entire Bay Mills Studios team to tell the story of a visionary artist whose profound cultural influence only continues to grow with time,” said Boat Rocker Studios president Steve Lescroart (via THR).

James co-owns the Bay Mills outfit with Anderson, and through their company, they have a first-look deal with Boat Rocker. Anderson currently stars in Boat Rocker’s sci-fi drama Invasion on Apple TV+, while James is set to star opposite Lena Headey in Boat Rocker’s adaptation of the Hugh Howey sci-fi novel Beacon 23, coming to Spectrum Originals and AMC.

“Jean-Michel is an artist I have long revered, and someone who has greatly influenced my work over the years,” James said in a statement (via THR). “To embody such a revolutionary, whose influence in the modern era of pop culture is simply immeasurable, will simply be one of the greatest honors of my career.”

Boat Rocker’s Katie O’Connell Marsh and Nick Nantell will executive produce the currently untitled series, alongside Anderson and James for Bay Mills. Holly Hubsher will oversee the project for Bay Mills Studios.

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James is perhaps best known for playing Walter Cruz in the Prime Video series Homecoming, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. He also received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Rayshawn Morris in the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn. His other credits include the Fox drama Shots Fired, Canadian drama The L.A. Complex, and the critically acclaimed film If Beale Street Could Talk.

Untitled Basquiat Project, TBA