“They can put the chains on your body. Never let them put the chains on your mind,” says Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) in the new teaser trailer for “Roots,” History’s upcoming remake of the historic 1977 miniseries based on the novel by Alex Haley (watch it above). The eight-hour miniseries airs over four straight nights starting on May 30 — Memorial Day.
The limited series begins with Kinte abducted from his home in Africa and sold into slavery in America, but the trailer emphasizes empowerment as Kinte and his descendants — all the way down to Alex Haley himself — survive the overwhelming odds against them. Even when Kinte has his name taken away from him, Fiddler (Forest Whitaker) reminds him, “No matter what the master calls you, you keep your true name inside.”
The role of Fiddler was played in the 1977 miniseries by Louis Gossett Jr., who won the Emmy for Best Actor, defeating his co-stars John Amos, Ben Vereen and LeVar Burton, the original Kunta Kinte. Whitaker is an Oscar winner for his leading role in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), and he’s a past Emmy champ as well: he claimed Best TV Movie in 2003 as a producer of “Door to Door.” But he has yet to win for acting.