Ruth Negga will play actress, singer, French Resistance agent, and civil rights activist Josephine Baker in Josephine, a limited series in development at ABC Signature. The series comes from writer Dee Harris-Lawrence, director Millicent Shelton, and LeBron James and Maverick Carter‘s The Springhill Company and will follow Baker’s experience of being an “international superstar and decorated WW2 spy,” and that sounds like the type of show that’s going to be a must-see.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that Negga will both star in and executive produce the limited series. Josephine is described as “a raw and unflinching look at the force of nature that was Josephine Baker, the biggest Black female artist of her time. From international superstar and decorated WW2 spy, to Civil Rights activist and flawed mother, Josephine delves into the raw talent, sexual fluidity, struggles, and bold life of an icon.”
Baker’s career started when she became a stage performer at the age of 15. She would become the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture, the 1927 silent film Siren of the Tropics. When Baker was 19, she moved to France, and she renounced her U.S. citizenship to become a French national after marrying French industrialist Jean Lion in 1937. During World War II, she aided the French Resistance. Her Biography entry provides more detail:
Josephine Baker spent her youth in poverty before learning to dance and finding success on Broadway. In the 1920s she moved to France and soon became one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. She worked for the French Resistance during World War II, and during the 1950s and ’60s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States. After beginning her comeback to the stage in 1973, Baker died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1975, and was buried with military honors.
Negga’s credits include TV work like AMC’sPreacher and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and films such as World War Z, Warcraft, Ad Astra, and Loving. She also appeared in the Sundance movie Passing, which is headed to Netflix sometime this year. She’s an incredibly talented actress, and this seems like the perfect role for her to showcase her talents.
Dee Harris-Lawrence, whose credits include Zero Hour, Chicago P.D., Star, Zoo, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G., David Makes Man, All Rise, and more, will write Josephine. Millicent Shelton, director on shows such as Hunters, The Walking Dead, Black-ish, Preacher, Luke Cage, Empire, Jessica Jones, Ballers, Supergirl, Scandal, Titans, and more, will helm.
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