New York – July 27 2010 – Rapper-turned-actor, Common, has been cast in one of the lead roles in AMC’s newest pilot, Hell on Wheels. Hell on Wheels is a contemporary western that centers on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The musician/actor most recently starred in the 2010 movie Just Wright, playing a basketball player who falls in love with his trainer, Queen Latifah. He also appeared in the hit comedy Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
Common is a two-time Grammy-winner. Hell on Wheels marks Common’s first leading role on television.
"Common brings a layered intensity to a very complex role," said Joel Stillerman, Senior Vice President of Programming, Production and Digital Content. "This part required someone who can transcend the stereotypes of the period and bring the character to life in a truly unique way, and he brings that. We are thrilled to have him join our cast."
Common will take on the role of Elam, a freed slave who comes west seeking work on the railroad and his place in the world. As a half black, half white man he does not completely belong to either world.
In 2007, Common appeared with Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Piven, and Alicia Keys in the crime film Smokin’ Aces. He made his big screen debut as villainous Mob enforcer Sir Ivy. He appeared alongside Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, The RZA and T.I. in the 2007 crime thriller American Gangster. In 2008, he starred in the film adaptation of the comic book Wanted alongside Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie; and was cast as the Green Lantern/John Stewart in the live adaptaton of The Justice League. Common also appeared in the movie Street Kings alongside Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, The Game, and Forest Whitaker. He also appeared in the 2009 film Terminator Salvation as John Connor’s lieutenant Barnes.
Hell on Wheels was created and written by Joe and Tony Gayton (Faster/Uncommon Valor/Salton Sea /Bulletproof) who will also executive produce. The project was developed by Endemol USA. Jeremy Gold, Endemol’s SVP of Scripted Programming will executive produce. David Goldberg is Chairman of Endemol North America. E1 Television CEO John Morayniss and SVP creative affairs Michael Rosenberg will oversee production. David Von Ancken (Seraphim Falls/Californication) has signed on to direct the pilot and production is scheduled to begin in Alberta, Canada this August.
AMC reigns as the only network to ever win the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series – Drama three years in a row and the only basic cable network to win back-to-back Primetime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade from the most comprehensive library or creating acclaimed original productions, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories. AMC’s original stories include the Emmy® Award-winning dramas Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and insightful non-scripted programming such as AMC News. AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with curated movie franchises like AMC Hollywood Icon and AMC Complete Collection. Available in more than 95 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, which includes sister networks IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and Wedding Central. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters HereTM.
About E1 Entertainment
E1 Entertainment (AIM: ETO) is a leading international company that specializes in the acquisition, production and distribution of entertainment content. The company’s comprehensive network extends around the globe including Canada, the U.S., the UK, Ireland, Benelux, France, Australia, and New Zealand. Through established Entertainment and Distribution divisions, the company provides extensive expertise in film distribution, television and music production, kids programming and merchandising and licensing. Its current rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 20,000 film and television titles, 2,400 hours of television programming and 45,000 music tracks.
About Endemol USA
Endemol USA is a leading producer of television programming specializing in unscripted and scripted genres for network and cable television. The company produces the hit shows "Wipeout," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Deal or No Deal," and "Big Brother." Endemol USA is a division of the Endemol Group, a leading international content developer, producer and distributor of television and online programming. The company, headquartered in the Netherlands and the UK, has subsidiaries and joint ventures in 26 countries, including the major European markets, the U.S., South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. Endemol is owned by a consortium consisting of Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Mediaset Group and Cyrte Group. For more information, please visit http://www.endemolusa.tv. Endemol is a privately held company.