Y’lan Noel grabs lead role in Lee Daniels’ ‘The Spook Who Sat By The Door’

The pilot is based on the popular novel of the same name

After charming audiences in HBO’s Insecure, Y’lan Noel has grabbed a lead role in the pilot for Lee DanielsThe Spook Who Sat By The Door.

Based on the novel of the same name, The Spook Who Sat By The Door is a new drama pilot for FX. Executive produced by Daniels, the project is written by Leigh Dana Jackson and will be directed by Gerard McMurray. Now, according to Deadline, The Spook Who Sat By The Door has found its leading man in none other than Insecure fan-favorite Noel.

Y’lan Noel thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

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Noel is known for playing Daniel, Issa’s on-again, off-again fling on HBO’s critically acclaimed series, Insecure. Noel will play Dan Freeman in The Spook Who Sat By The Door, who in the series has just been hired as the only Black CIA operative in government. Freeman is described as, “a patriot, a Vietnam vet, and secretly, a Black Revolutionary.”

The series is said to highlight “structural racism in the U.S.” Jackson is set to serve as showrunner on the series and will executive produce with Daniels, McMurray, and Marc Velez. This is not the first adaptation of Sam Greenlee‘s 1969 novel. The book was adapted into a feature film back in 1973 with Lawrence Cook starring as Dan Freeman.

Y'lan Noel thegrio.com
Y’lan Noel speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

Noel is particularly busy right now with acting projects. While Noel last appeared on Insecure in the show’s third season, he also appeared in another Issa Rae project, The Photograph in 2020. His next job? A thriller from the mind of Mo McRae. Set to be McRae’s directorial debut, A Lot of Nothing follows, “a couple living in a Los Angeles suburb who are compelled to take dangerous actions when they discover their next-door neighbor is the police officer that just murdered an unarmed motorist.” Noel is set to star in the upcoming film.

Daniels certainly seems excited that Noel has climbed aboard this new project. He wrote in a tweet, “Welcome aboard Y’lan Noel #spookwhosatbythedoor.”

Daniels is currently basking in the flow of his latest success, the film The United States vs. Billie Holiday. The legendary director recently opened up to GQ about returning to film after spending the past few years in the television space, specifically while working on his hit series, Empire.

He told the magazine, “It’s fantastic, fantastic, fantastic! I’m so excited. You know, I forgot I was a filmmaker. You get caught up in so many stories — Cookie and Lucious and then Star. And I forget that I’m a filmmaker truly. It’s been seven or eight years since I wrapped The Butler, so it was exciting to actually go back. And it was scary to go back, especially sober.”

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