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Common to Star in 'Black Samurai' TV Adaptation Produced by RZA


Marc Olden's 1974 book series, Black Samurai, is being developed for television with multi-talented Oscar winner Common as the star. 

According to Variety, RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan is the executive producer along with Andre Gaines, Mitchell Diggs, and Diane Crafford.“There is a long tradition and storied relationship between hip-hop and martial arts. Having RZA and the WuTang brand on board to executive produce will validate the series even more and mobilize the fans,” Gaines said of RZA's involvement. He lauded the fact they had Common on board and the excitement of adapting a unique story. 
"Robert Sand is like black Jason Bourne. Black Samurai is one of the most unique, timely and fun experiences I’ve ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity," said Gaines. "With ‘John Wick 2’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ coming up, Common was an obvious choice for the role, and I’m thrilled to have him on board. I believe he’s the next great American actor."
The book series followed Robert Sand, an American soldier in Tokyo, who is shot trying to protect an old man from drunk American G.I.s. The old man, Master Konuma, turns the table on his assailants and rescues Sand. He goes on to teach him for seven years the ancient secret martial arts of the samurai. After a dozen terrorists infiltrate his dojo and kill his sensei and fellow students, Sand escapes and vows vengeance against the powerful forces hellbent on world domination. 

A movie adaptation was made in 1977 starring Jim Kelly and directed by Al Adamson. 

Common continues to be in high demand. After winning the Oscar in 2015 (with John Legend) for 'Glory' from 'Selma,' the latest 'Barbershop' film, and appearing in NBC's live musical of 'The Wiz,' he has 'Suicide Squad' coming out in August and 'John Wick 2' out in February of 2017. He's also executive producing with creator Lena Waithe a coming-of-age drama pilot for Showtime, which revolves around a young African American man in Chicago’s South Side.

'Black Samurai' is still being shopped around to networks. When a deal is struck with an outlet the search for a writer and director will begin. 
“I could not be more pleased that such incredible talent is attached to Marc’s work,” said Crafford. “This series has always been one of my favorites and Robert Sand, the Black Samurai, is a fascinating character who I can’t wait to see brought to life on the screen.”

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