Jordan Peele‘s adaptation of Lovecraft Country has found its female star, and she has a background in horror. Jurnee Smollett-Bell, best known for her role as Nicole Wright on the network’s True Blood, will be playing Letitia in the forthcoming HBO series, which follows protagonist Atticus Black as he sets out on a road trip across 1950s-era America in search of his father. Letitia accompanies him, along with his uncle George.
Smollett-Bell is uniquely positioned to play Letitia, as her last marquee role was in another period drama that focused on race in the U.S., specifically during the time of the Underground Railroad. (For her role on Underground, she ended up earning two nominations for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series from the NAACP Image Awards.) On that film, Smollett-Bell worked alongside showrunner Misha Green, who is handling the script and executive producing Lovecraft Country along with Peele, as The Hollywood Reporter announced.
Lovecraft Country, however, will be less of a drama and more of pure horror, as Peele has described it. “‘Lovecraft Country’ is more of a social thriller/horror/sci fi/ based on Matt Ruff’s book,” he tweeted when announcing Green will “helm” the series.
Green also previously shared the news, tweeting, “Listen. No words 4 how excited I am to tell genre stories where the black folks don’t die first.?& with @JordanPeele 2! ??” Her statement echoed the description of the show in the Los Angeles Times as one “meant to reclaim genre storytelling from the African-American perspective.”
Smollett-Bell broke the news on her own Twitter account, writing, “[From] Rosalee to Leti Dandridge, I’m honored to continue this journey with my artistic soul sister, @MishaGreen. Adding the brilliance of @jordanpeele & #JJAbrams is the cream on top of this cup of beautiful Black Coffee. Wait till you meet Leti & the world that is #LoveCraftCountry.”
Lovecraft Country might not be the only horror project Peele has in the works, though. Yesterday, Peele joked that he was at work on the sequel to Get Out, last year’s Oscar-winning horror film that doubles as a commentary on racism in America. After Kanye West posted a photo of his minimal home, with the caption, “do this look like the sunken place ?,” Peele tweeted, “Gets inspired/ Starts writing ‘Get Out 2’.” While the Twitter joke was likely just that, anything is possible.
More likely, the next Peele horror project with racism as the monster will be Lovecraft Country, which does not yet have an air date.