Tamara Lawrance to star in Channel 4’s Get Millie Black
James R | On 06, Jun 2022
Tamara Lawrance will star in Channel 4 and HBO’s Get Millie Black.
Produced by Motive Pictures, the six-part crime noir follows the inimitable Millie-Jean Black, a police detective forced to quit Scotland Yard and return home to Jamaica, where she is soon pursuing a missing persons case that threatens to expose more than she may be willing to confront. Returning to her roots from her troubled life in London, to work missing persons cases for the Jamaican police force, Millie soon picks up the trail of an investigation that begins in the steaming streets of downtown Kingston and works its way up to the hill plantations of the post-colonial elite. Events eventually explode onto the international stage, propelling Millie back to the UK, where pretty soon everyone is out to get Millie Black.
The international tale is told through the eyes of six people, each with their own bias and beef, all of whom believe they know the true Millie Black – perhaps the deepest mystery of all.
Now, Channel 4 has found the star to bring her life in the form of Tamara Lawrance. A BAFTA’s Breakthrough Talent 2020, Lawrance’s film Silent Twins, in which she stars and executive produces, debuted in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year. She is also known for her roles in The Long Song, Kindred several award-winning plays in London including leading roles at the National and Royal Court Theatre.
Lawrance is joined by Joe Dempsie (Pieces of Her, Adult Material) as Luke Holborn, a British detective who shows up in Kingston on the trail of a major investigation that’s set on a collision course with Millie’s. Gershwyn Eustache Jnr also stars as Curtis, a gay cop and Millie Black’s partner, alongside Chyna McQueen as Hibiscus, Millie’s sister and one of the Sunlight Ladies, a band of Queer outcasts living hand-to-mouth yet exuberantly in the gullies that run throughout Kingston.
The series marks the screenwriting debut of Booker Prizewinning author Marlon James and is directed by Tanya Hamilton, a Sundance Institute writing and directing fellow whose CV includes Night Catches Us, Cherish the Day, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, The Chi, Berlin Station and The Godfather of Harlem.
Production began last month in Jamaica, with additional shooting in London to come.
Get Millie Black: Channel 4 and HBO order series from Marlon James
11th December 2021
Channel 4 and HBO are teaming up to bring a new series from Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings) to the screen.
Get Millie Black is a six-part crime noir following Millie-Jean Black, a police detective forced to quit Scotland Yard and return home to Jamaica, where she’s soon pursuing a missing persons case that threatens to expose more than she may be willing to confront.
“Marlon James has created a deeply personal and wholly authentic version of a Jamaica never seen on screen before,” says Channel 4. “Get Millie Black explores the troubled legacy of racism, slavery, sexuality, classism and cycles of trauma in the post-colonial landscape of Britain and Jamaica, always told through the unique perspective of Millie – a girl born on the Rock, raised in London, who claims to be both British and Jamaican, yet somehow belongs to neither place. It is a story peopled by a host of unforgettable characters; transgender ‘gully queen’ Hibiscus, the sibling Millie left behind; her brilliant partner on the Jamaican police force, Curtis, who is forced to keep his love life secret from his colleagues; game-playing Scotland Yard Inspector Luke Osbourne; and Hit Girl, go-go-club owner and underworld entrepreneur.”
The drama is produced by Motive Pictures (backed by Endeavor Content) and commissioned by Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama at Channel 4 and Francesca Orsi at HBO. Executive Producers are Simon Maxwell (Motive Pictures), James and Leopoldo Gout.
James says: “My mother was one of the first policewomen in Jamaica to make detective. Storytelling has always struck me first and foremost as a mystery to be solved—which I’m sure I got from her. Millie, from the second she appeared in my imagination was a brilliant, mercurial, hilarious, unpredictable force of nature; someone who was always there, just waiting for her story to be told. I didn’t create her, I found her.”
Caroline Hollick, Head of Channel 4 drama, adds: “Marlon James is one of the literary superstars of our generation and to be able to greenlight his first original drama series is nothing short of a total privilege. Get Millie Black is every bit the smart, bold and complex piece of storytelling that you would expect from Marlon, it’s a tale that digs deep into identity and belonging but it’s one that is firmly at home on Channel 4 and embodies everything that our drama should be about. The scripts are utterly enthralling, Millie came to us already living and breathing on the page and I can’t wait to see her step off of it and captivate audiences on screen.”
Filming will take place in 2022.