SHOWTIME DEVELOPING LIMITED SERIES BLACKBIRD: LENA HORNE AND AMERICA BASED ON THE LIFE OF LENA HORNE
Jenny Lumet, Granddaughter of Horne, To Write and Executive Produce
Photo: Carl Van Vechten/Courtesy of Jenny Lumet
LOS ANGELES – July 8, 2020 – SHOWTIME is developing the limited series BLACKBIRD: LENA HORNE AND AMERICA, based on the life of incomparable entertainer and activist Lena Horne. BLACKBIRD: LENA HORNE AND AMERICA will be executive produced by Horne’s granddaughter, Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married, Star Trek®: Discovery), and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek: Picard, The Comey Rule), who together will write the first few episodes. The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Secret Hideout. Heather Kadin will serve as an executive producer on this project.
Titled after Horne's favorite poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, BLACKBIRD: LENA HORNE AND AMERICA will span 60 years of her life, from dancing at the Cotton Club when she was 16, through World War II and stardom of the MGM years, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement and her triumphant return to Broadway. The series will encompass her deepest relationships: Paul Robeson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Joe Louis, Billie Holiday, Hattie McDaniel, Ava Gardner and Orson Welles, to name a few. A direct descendant of slaves and their enslavers, Horne had to navigate stardom during Jim Crow. She laid herself down and made herself a bridge for everyone who came after her, and finally achieved her own liberation to become one of America's greatest legends.
"Bringing my grandmother's story to the screen required a multi-generational effort,” said Lumet. “Grandma passed her stories to my mother, who now passes them to me, so I may pass them to the children of our family. Lena's story is so intimate and at the same time, it's the story of America – America at its most honest, most musical, most tragic and most joyous. It's crucial now. Especially now. She was the love of my life."
Lumet wrote the feature Rachel Getting Married for which she received the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Toronto Film Critics Association Award, Washington D.C Film Critics Association Award and NAACP® Image Award. Lumet is currently the executive producer and co-creator of the upcoming CBS drama series Clarice, and serves as co-creator and showrunner of the upcoming CBS All Access® series The Man Who Fell to Earth. Her credits also include Star Trek: Picard and the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Kurtzman is at the helm of the growing Star Trek universe on CBS All Access, including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard featuring Sir Patrick Stewart, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Short Treks. He serves as executive producer on the upcoming SHOWTIME series THE COMEY RULE as well as executive producer and co-creator, with Lumet alongside co-showrunner John Hlavin on the upcoming The Man Who Fell to Earth and executive producer and co-creator with Lumet on Clarice.
This is Secret Hideout’s third project at SHOWTIME, with THE COMEY RULE set to air in September and THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY, from writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, receiving a series commitment.
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