Don Cheadle To Direct Apple TV+ Series ‘The Big Cigar’ About Black Panther Leader Huey P. Newton

Don Cheadle has signed on to direct The Big Cigar for Apple TV+, a new limited series that will tell the true story of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton‘s escape to Cuba.

Moonlight star André Holland is currently in talks to star, while Sherman Barrios (Criminal Minds, The Kings Of Napa) will serve as showrunner.

The series has been written by Jim Hecht, and is based on renowned journalist Joshuah Bearman‘s 2013 Playboy article ‘The Big Cigar: How a Hollywood producer smuggled Huey Newton to Cuba.’ Bert Schnider was the Hollywood producer in question, and the show is being described as “extraordinary, hilarious, and almost-too-good-to-be-true.”

Under Newton’s leadership, the Black Panther Party founded over 60 community support programs including food banks, medical clinics, prison busing for families of inmates, legal advice seminars, their own ambulance service, and arguably the most famous, their Free Breakfast for Children program, which fed thousands of impoverished children daily during the early 70s.

Newton and his girlfriend (later wife) Gwen Fontaine fled to Cuba after he was allegedly involved in the murder of Kathleen Smith, an underage sex worker. They lived there until 1977 before Newton returned to the States to stand trial. This is likely the period of time The Big Cigar is expected to cover.

If Holland does sign on to star, this won’t be his first turn playing a historical figure at the center of the civil rights movement, as he previously appeared in 2014’s Selma as Andrew Young. His last TV role was the lead in 2020 musical drama The Eddy, while he’s currently filming Luca Guadagnino‘s coming-of-age romance-horror film Bones & All.

Cheadle has previously directed episodes of his comedy series House Of Lies, and he also helmed 2015 Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, which he also starred in. There’s currently no word on if he plans to have an on-screen role in The Big Cigar.

The show will be collaborative effort between Apple and Warner Bros. Television, who currently work on acclaimed comedy series Ted Lasso, and who recently announced that Harrison Ford will be starring alongside Jason Segel in a new series titled Shrinking. Apple’s roster of shows continues to grow as they gain more of a foothold in the streaming wars.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like