Michaela Coel to star in BBC, Netflix war crimes drama “Black Earth Rising

Michaela Coel

There are many reasons to love Michaela Coel. Aside from giving us the religious but Beyonce-obsessed Tracey Gordon in the British sitcom Chewing Gum, she’s also starred in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Black Mirror, making her one of the UK’s rising stars. Now, Coel will be joining other A-list names for the Netflix and BBC drama Black Earth Rising.

Initially known as the The Forgiving Earth, Black Earth Rising was commissioned last year, alongside John Goodman (Roseanne), Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Harriet Walter (The Crown, Downton Abbey), Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Lucian Msamati (Taboo) and Abena Ayivor (A United Kingdom). The story, which is set across the UK, Europe, Africa and the US., centers on Kate Ashby, played by Coel, who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashy (Walter), a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law.

Kate was raised in Britain and, now in her late twenties, she works as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis (Goodman). When Eve takes on a case at the International Crime Court, prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever. The eight-part drama has been described as a labyrinthine thriller about the prosecution of international war crimes and the personal, legal, and political turmoil it ignites, as well as the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa.

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