EPIX sets spinoff ‘By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem’
The four-part docuseries will be produced by Forest Whitaker and Swizz Beatz
Epix has announced plans for a Godfather of Harlem spinoff series entitled By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem.
According to the network that debuted Godfather of Harlem last year, the new four-part docuseries will utilize “interviews, archival footage, evocative imagery and key moments from the Godfather of Harlem,” and will give viewers a look into “the dramatic true story of Harlem and its music during the 1960s, and connects that history to our present moment.”
“Through the prism of contemporary artists, audiences will see beyond the black and white historical images into the multicolored souls of musicians unafraid to use music as a weapon against change,” the network said in a statement.
Godfather of Harlem is inspired by the story of infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker), who in the early 1960s returned from 10 years in prison to find the neighborhood he once ruled in shambles. With the streets controlled by the Italian mob, Bumpy must take on the Genovese crime family to regain control.
Whitaker’s production company, Significant Productions, will executive produce alongside Swizz Beatz and Keith McQuirter of Decoder Media.
theGrio caught up with Whitaker ahead of the show’s premiere and learned what went in to transforming himself into the legendary Bumpy Johnson.
“I was reading some historical documents, like his prison records, and I started to meet with people here when I came to New York. [I] met with Chisholm and Junebug—a couple of people who had worked with Bumpy during that time, and had interviews and meetings with guys and start to talk about it,” he said of his research for the role.
“So I did look at things historically, listen to the music, look at the political times and understand Adam Clayton and Malcolm X more and start to form itself,” he added.
The series also stars Ilfenesh Hadera, Vincent D’Onofrio and Giancarlo Esposito, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr.
The second season of Godfather of Harlem is set to return in 2021.
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