Jalyn Hall (Up to) will play a young Martin Luther King Jr. in the Disney+ and National Geographic Original series “Genius: MLK/X.” Kelvin Harrison Jr. (The trial against Chicago 7) plays the adult Martin Luther King Jr. in the series.
The series stars Kevin Harrison Jr. (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aaron Pierre (“The Underground Railroad”) as Malcolm X, Weruche Opia (“I May Destroy You”) as Coretta Scott King, and Jayme Lawson (“The Batman”) as Betty Shabazz.
The cast also includes Ron Cephas Jones (This is us), Gary Carr (The peripheral), Hubert Point-Du Jour (The Good Lord Bird) Lennie James (The walking dead), LisaGay Hamilton (Lincoln lawyer), Ashley Romans (Y: The Last Man), Donald Logue (Departure) and Griffin Matthews (The flight attendant).
As previously announced, in a first for the franchise, the new season of Emmy® Award-winning anthology series will focus on two iconic geniuses: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. “Genius: MLK/X” will explore the formative years, groundbreaking achievements, dueling philosophies and important personal relationships of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Harrison Jr.) and Malcolm X (Pierre). While King promoted racial equality through nonviolent protest, Malcolm X argued forcefully for black empowerment, identity, and self-determination. With their formidable wives, Coretta Scott King (Opia) and Betty Shabazz (Lawson), by their side, King and Malcolm X became synonymous with the civil rights era and the struggle for racial and economic justice. While they only met once and often challenged each other’s views, neither would be as successful without the other.
Channing Godfrey Peoples is co-executive producer and will direct the pilot episode for “Genius: MLK/X.” Godfrey Peoples made her feature directorial debut with Miss Juneteenth, for which she received the coveted National Board of Review Award for Best Directorial Debut and was also recognized with multiple nominations from the Gotham Awards and Film Independent Spirit Awards, among others. Her television credits include Apple TV+’s “Roar” and HBO Max’s “Generation” for directing and OWN’s “Queen Sugar” for writing.
The series is produced by 20th Television, Imagine Television and Undisputed Cinema.
For Imagine Television, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are executive producers. For Undisputed Cinema, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Francie Calfo are executive producers. Raphael Jackson Jr. and Damione Macedon are showrunners and executive producers. For MWM Studios, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane serve as executive producers. For EUE/Sokolow, Sam Sokolow is executive producer. Jeff Stetson (“The Meeting”) will write the pilot and serves as executive producer. Channing Godfrey Peoples will direct and also serve as co-executive producer. Ambassador Shabazz serves as consulting producer.
According to Deadline, Hall has been shortlisted for a supporting actor Oscar and was just nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Young Actor for his performance in Chinonye Chukwu’s Up toin which he portrayed Emmett Till opposite Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till-Mobley.