*Nafessa Williams (“Code Black”) and China Anne McClain (“House of Payne”) have scored lead roles opposite Cress Williams in “Black Lightning,” the CW’s DC Comics drama pilot from Greg Berlanti and the “Being Mary Jane” duo of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.
Written by the Akils and based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden, “Black Lightning” centers on Jefferson Pierce (Williams). He made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter, Jennifer (McCain) hellbent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
McCain will play Jennifer Pierce, Jefferson’s independent, outspoken younger daughter. The teen is described as a scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own.
Williams will portray Anissa Pierce, Jefferson’s twenty-something daughter described as passionate and quick-witted. She must balance the demands of medical school with her job teaching part-time at her father’s school.
In the DC comics, Anissa and Jennifer follow in their father’s footsteps and become superheroes, taking on the names of Thunder and Lightning, respectively.
McClain is best known as music prodigy Chyna Parks in Disney Channel’s series “A.N.T. Farm” and as “Jazmine Payne” in the Tyler Perry sitcom “House of Payne.” She recently wrapped the Lionsgate/WWE Studios film “Brother’s Blood” opposite Trey Songz, and stars in Disney Channel’s upcoming “Descendants 2.”
Williams, who had a major recurring role on CBS’ medical drama “Code Black” this season, will next be seen in Showtime’e “Twin Peaks” reboot.
Salim Akil will direct and executive produce alongside Mara Brock Akil and Berlanti and Sarah Schechter for Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.