According to reports, Apple has ordered a new television series focused on the revolutionary leader from Warner Bros. Television. Veteran actor Don Cheadle is currently in talks to be in the director’s seat for the first two episodes of the six-episode series. André Holland is also engaged in talks to star as Newton. The Big Cigar is inspired by a Playboy article bearing the same name written by Joshuah Bearman. The article chronicles how Hollywood producer Bert Schneider, responsible for the cult classic Easy Rider, helped his friend Newton escape the clutches of a national manhunt by authorities to flee to exile in Cuba.
Jim Hecht, who is behind HBO’s Winning Time:The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty series, is writing for this series along with Bearman in addition to serving as a producer. Janine Sherman Barrois, a showrunner for TNT’s popular Claws series and OWN’s Kings of Napa series, will serve as an executive producer and showrunner for this series. Cheadle will also be an executive producer for the first two episodes of The Big Cigar, and will build on his previous directorial experience with his Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead and multiple episodes of the Showtime series House of Lies.
Barrois joins the team behind The Big Cigar via her Folding Chair Productions company, which also has a deal with Warner Bros. Television. Joshua Davis and Arthur Spector will also join the series as executive producers through Epic, a division of Vox Media Studios. The Big Cigar is the third collaborative venture between Apple TV and Warner Bros., follwing the success of Ted Lasso and a new series, Shrinking, featuring Jason Segel, Jessica Williams and Harrison Ford. Segel is also set as co-writer on the series.