‘King Shaka’: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mustafa Shakir and More Set Showtime’s Historical Epic!!

The major cast for King Shaka has been locked in as Showtime gears up to begin production on the epic series inspired by the life of Zulu’s greatest monarch King Shaka. A legendary warrior king who engraved his name in the sands of time by utilizing unique battle techniques combined with strategic alliances, King Shaka built Zulu into a formidable kingdom revered across boarders in its prime. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Mustafa Shakir, Terry Pheto, and Lerato Mvelase are the latest cast additions unveiled by Showtime. They will be joining previously announced Charles Babalola who has a big shoe to fill in the lead titular role.

Akinnuoye-Agbaje will portray one of the royals from Ndwandwe named Chief Zwide. Much like the show’s lead, he is a powerful warrior with a penchant for employing ruthless fighting methods. Away from the battleground, he is a doting father and husband. His wife Juma who’s learned to scheme from observing her husband will be played by Pheto; the role has been categorized as a recurring one. Shakir will fill another of the lead roles as Dingiswayo who will be drawing from his experience as a banished prince to serve as a mentor to Shaka, molding him into the legendary warrior he would become. Mvelase will recur as Mkabayi, the elder sister to Shaka’s estranged father and is an important piece in the decision-making processes at the royal court.

Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a SAG-nominated British actor who has run the gamut of roles in his career but is best recognized for his role as Simon Adebisi in Oz, and Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns. He’s had roles in blockbuster movies such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Thor: The Dark World, and Suicide Squad. He made his directorial debut with Farming which screened to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Film Festival. He will next be seen in the thriller film Our Man from Jersey starring Mark Whalberg and Halle Berry.

Shakir who has been equally prolific on the small and big screen is best known for taking on the Marvel supervillain Bushmaster in Netflix‘s Luke Cage, and is one of the leads in the science fiction series, Cowboy Bebop. King Shaka will be Shakir‘s second Antoine Fuqua project; he was cast in Fuqua‘s action thriller Emancipation (also starring Will Smith) set to premiere next year. Pheto is no stranger to portraying historic figures, following her debut in the Oscar-winning film, Tsotsi, she played Winnie Mandela in Madiba and Evelyn in Long Walk to Freedom. Mvelase is best known for her exploits in the South African movie industry. She earned an Emmy nod for her role in Home Affairs, and is known for other works such as Justice Served and For Love and Broken Bones.

Rounding out the cast for King Shaka are previously announced Aïssa Maïga (The Fear Index) as Shaka’s devoted mother Nandi, Thando Dlomo (The Woman King) as Pampatha, Thapelo Mokoena (Bulletproof) in the guest role of Gendeyana, as well as Warren Masemola (Queen Sono) as Magazwa. Production for the epic series is slated to begin next month, and filming will be done entirely in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Africa province, which is the birthplace of the real-life titular figure.

The series got its script from the writings of Olu Odebunmi and Tolu Awosika. The plot will follow Shaka from his time as “the outcast son of a Zulu Chief” to fulfilling the unlikely prophecy of becoming “a king like none before him,” despite the odds. His quest to fulfill destiny will see him engage in “ferocious battles that test the body and soul” as he equally explores “alliances that test the bonds of love and friendship.”

Seith Mann will direct the pilot episode. Production studios for the project include Propagate, Fuqua‘s Fuqua Films, and CBS Studios. The show features a host of executive producers which includes Fuqua, Bridget Carpenter, Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Rodney Ferrell, and Spencer Medof. Producers include Scott Greenberg, Michael Callas, Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube, and Pepsi Pokane.

Showtime has scheduled to premiere King Shaka in 2023.


via Collider

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