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Guerrilla - Idris Elba to Star in John Ridley's Limited Series Ordered by Showtime & Sky

American Crime creator John Ridley has teamed with Luther star Idris Elba for Guerrilla, a six-part limited series, which has been greenlighted by Showtime and Sky Atlantic. Set against the backdrop of the Black Power movement in the UK in the 1970s, Guerrilla centers on a couple (not yet cast) whose passion propels them into making the leap from political activism to radical militancy. Ridley has written most of the episodes and will direct the first two. Misan Sagay (Belle) also is working as a writer on the project, which is currently in pre-production in London for a late summer start. In addition to co-starring, Elba will executive produce the limited series through his Green Door Pictures.

A love story during one of the most politically explosive times in U.K. history, Guerrilla tells the story of a politically active couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism.

Guerrilla has been a long-time passion project for Ridley, an Oscar winner for writing 12 Years of Slave. “I’m a child of the 70s and witnessed things in the US like the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, the Weather Underground,” Ridley told Deadline. While working on post-production on his 2013 movie Jimi: All Is By My Side in London four years ago, Ridley shared his interest in that part of history, which he considered “a very American phenomenon,” with Spence who told him that something similar happened in 1970s Britain. “The reality was that there was black consciousness, a Black Power movement that was different but informed by the American Black Panther movement,” Ridley said.

Guerrilla will feel very specific to the UK — where for example the Black Power movement had a broader scope, also including people from the Indian subcontinent — while also having a global feel, referencing 1970s militant groups from other parts of the world, including the Red Army Faction (Germany), the Japanese Red Army, the IRA.

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