*Michael Kenneth Williams is set as one of the two leads in Sundance’s straight-to-series drama “Hap And Leonard,” and has been cast as the lead in “The Spoils Before Dying” for sibling channel IFC.
“Hap And Leonard” follows the story of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine (Williams), a black, openly gay Vietnam vet with anger issues. Having been raised by an uncle who shunned him after learning he was homosexual, Leonard was left with Hap — a white, working-class laborer who spent time in federal prison as a young man for refusing to be drafted into the military and serve in the Vietnam War as his only source of support — in the not so progressive, rural South of the 1980s.
The six-episode series, produced by Sundance Studios, was created by director/writer Jim Mickle and writer Nick Damici based on author Joe R. Lansdale’s novels. It will debut in 2016.
Funny or Die’s “The Spoils Before Dying,” a followup to the company’s IFC miniseries “The Spoils Of Babylon,” is a pulp-noir murder mystery set in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles’ jazz scene. It follows down-and-out pianist Rock Banyon (Williams) who becomes the prime suspect when his lead singer and occasional lover is found violently murdered in a car with another man. With the death of two people hanging over his head, Rock has only 72 hours to clear his name or fry in the electric chair.
Will Ferrell is set to reprise his role as Eric Jonrosh, the booze-soaked author turned director, on whose books the Spoils adaptations are based.
Williams will next be seen opposite Queen Latifah in “Bessie,” HBO’s Bessie Smith biopic premiering May 16.