New limited series to chronicle the true story of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton’s escape to Cuba
Apple TV+ announced “The Big Cigar,” a new six-episode limited series executive produced and written by Jim Hecht (“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”), and executive produced and showrun by NAACP Image Award-winner Janine Sherman Barrois (“Claws,” “The Kings of Napa”), with Don Cheadle (“No Sudden Move,” “Black Monday,” “House of Lies”) on board to direct and executive produce the first two episodes, and based on the eponymous Playboy magazine article from Joshuah Bearman (“Argo”), who will also serve as executive producer. With André Holland (“The Eddy,” “Moonlight”) in discussions to star as Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton, “The Big Cigar” tells the almost-too-good-to-be-true story of how Newton relied on his best friend, Bert Schneider, the Hollywood producer behind “Easy Rider,” to elude a nationwide manhunt and escape to Cuba while being pursued into exile by the FBI.
Written by Hecht, from a story by Bearman & Hecht, “The Big Cigar” hails from Warner Bros. Television, where Sherman Barrois and her Folding Chair Productions are under an overall deal. The drama is executive produced by Hecht and Sherman Barrois, as well as Bearman, Joshua Davis, and Arthur Spector (“Little America”), through their production company Epic, a division of Vox Media Studios.
The series marks the latest collaboration for Apple TV+ and Warner Bros. Television, following the recently announced series orders for “Shrinking,” a new comedy that will star Jason Segel and Harrison Ford, with Segel also serving as writer and executive producer alongside “Ted Lasso” Emmy Award winners Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein; “Bad Monkey,” a new drama from Lawrence that will star Vince Vaughn, who will also serve as executive producer; as well as the global hit series “Ted Lasso,” which broke records in 2021 as the most-nominated freshman comedy in Emmy history, and landed a total of seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series.
“The Big Cigar” is the second collaboration for Epic and Apple TV+. It joins the returning award-winning series “Little America” produced by Bearman, Spector, along with Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Lee Eisenberg, Alan Yang, and Academy Award-winner Siân Heder.