“Roots” aired on the History Channel over four consecutive nights from May 30 to June 2, getting in just under the wire to compete for Best Limited Series at the Emmy Awards. The eight-hour drama is based on the famous book by Alex Haley, which was previously adapted into a miniseries in 1977 that became a ratings blockbuster and swept the Emmys with nine wins (including Best Limited Series) out of an astounding 37 nominations.
“Roots” tells the story of multiple generations of the Kinte family, starting in Africa where young Kunta (Malachi Kirby) is abducted and sold into slavery and ending four generations later when American slaves were emancipated at the end of the Civil War. It’s produced by Mark Wolper, whose father David L. Wolper produced the original miniseries, and LeVar Burton, who was the original Kunta Kinte.
Despite the pressure of following in the footsteps of a TV classic, the new “Roots” earned rave reviews. Will it also replicate the success of the original at the Emmys? We chatted with several members of the multi-generational ensemble cast, all of whom play roles that earned Emmy nominations or wins for their predecessors back in 1977.
Click on each name below to watch these interviews.
Malachi Kirby, who plays Kunta Kinte
Emayatzy Corinealdi, who plays Belle
Anika Noni Rose, who plays Kizzy
Rege-Jean Page, who plays Chicken George
Erica Tazel, who plays Matilda
Alex Heffes, Composer
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