From Clutch Magazine:

Rapper-actor Common will have his first lead role on television. According to Reuters, the 38-year music artist will star in the new AMC pilot “Hell on Wheels” as a freed slave. The new show is a contemporary western centered around the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s.

Common’s character Elam is a half black, half white man who comes to the West to work on the railroad.

AMC Senior Vice President Joel Stillerman tells Deadline.com, “This part required someone who can transcend the stereotypes of the period and bring the character to life in a truly unique way, and he (Common) brings that.”

Common is the first actor casted in the show. Filming for the pilot is scheduled to begin this month. No information released on when the show will premiere.

The rapper-actor recently appeared in the films “Just Wright,” starring opposite of Queen Latifah and “Date Night” with Tina Fey.