Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy, and Matthew Goode Join ‘Roots’

Mekhi Phifer
Mekhi Phifer and family at the ‘Tomorrowland’ premiere (Photo © Richard Chavez)

The cast of A+E Networks’ Roots has just expanded by seven. Joining the large ensemble for the dramatic miniseries are Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy, Matthew Goode, Tip T.I. Harris, Lane Garrison, G. Hannelius, and Emayatzy Corinealdi. Previously announced cast members include Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Laurence Fishburne, Anika Noni Rose, Chad L. Coleman, Erica Tazel, Derek Luke, Malachi Kirby and Regé-Jean Page.

The eight hour miniseries will air over four nights on History, A&E, and Lifetime. Roots the miniseries is adapted from Alex Haley’s book by Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner, and Mark Rosenthal are executive producing, and LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers. Phillip Noyce, Thomas Carter, Bruce Beresford, and Mario Van Peebles are on board to direct.

The Roots Plot:

Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte, who is captured in his homeland of The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America, where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit.

Tip “T.I.” Harris plays Cyrus, a headstrong slave who fights for his freedom for the Union Army against Confederate Forces. Mekhi Phifer is Jerusalem, a mute slave who works on the Murray plantation, but who is not quite what he appears to be. James Purefoy is set to play John Waller, the wealthy owner of a Virginia planation who buys Kunta Kinte as a slave upon his arrival in America. Matthew Goode is Dr. William Waller, the educated, charming brother of John Waller. Lane Garrison is Frederick Murray, a volatile, unpredictable Confederate officer and slave owner. Emayatzy Corinealdi will play Belle, the wife of Kunta Kinte. G. Hannelius is Missy, daughter of John Waller.