Common to Headline 'Black Samurai' Series for Starz

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Common attends Tribeca Talks: Common with Nelson George during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 23, 2017 in New York City.

Rapper and actor Common will star and executive produce Starz's adaptation of the Black Samurai novels by Marc Olden.

Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and Mitchell Diggs will also executive produce for Wu Films on the project, which is being made with Jerry Bruckheimer Television.

"We cannot wait for the world to meet Robert Sand—part Jason Bourne, part James Bond, and 100 percent the hero we need today. Black Samurai promises to be an action-packed ride and with the Bruckheimer team, Common, RZA and Andre [Gaines] at the helm, we can feel certain this will be exceptional storytelling," Carmi Zlotnik, president of programming for Starz, said in a statement Tuesday.

"We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Starz, Common, RZA and Andre Gaines on Black Samurai," producer Jerry Bruckheimer added. "This incredible creative team will combine all of their talents and experience to bring the classic book series to brand new life with cutting edge artistry, music and imagery."

"I'm beyond excited about Black Samurai. This is a unique and special project that offers something rarely seen in art and culture today," Common said. "It's an honor to play the character of Robert Sand and to have my production company, Freedom Road Productions, partnering with Jerry Bruckheimer Productions, RZA and Starz to deliver something fresh and new to people. I can't wait to dig into this character and the martial arts worlds of gun-fu, kung-fu, jujitsu and more. Look out world, Black Samurai is coming!"

The action drama is about a highly-trained American Army Ranger whose life is transformed when he meets a Japanese master and trains as a samurai.

The books previously inspired a 1977 film, starring Jim Kelly.

Showrunners Cormac and Marianne Wibberley are writing the pilot script for the update.

By Karen Butler

Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.