Natalie Baszile’s 2014 book debuts on Oprah’s television network directed by Ava DuVernay.
After the loss of their patriarch, the Bordelon family must navigate the triumphs and struggles of their complicated lives in order to run a struggling sugarcane farm in the Deep South. This was the gist of Natalie Baszile‘s February 2014 book Queen Sugar, and Director Ava DuVernay stays mostly true to the plot in her adaptation for Oprah’s OWN network.
“Queen Sugar” premieres in two parts Sept. 6 and 7 at 10/9c, with DuVernay directing the first two episodes and the rest of the episodes in the series’ debut season also directed by women. “They’re really focused on having women directors,” Baszile told us earlier this year. “It’s a diverse writers room, and I think that added some perspective and some dimension to have all of those different people creating this story.”
Baszile was also happy with the way her story was adapted and changed for television. On the page, Queen Sugar is set in the fictional town of St. Josephine, based on New Iberia, Louisiana, but the story is moving to New Orleans for the screen. Her original storyline of a woman who inherits a crop of sugarcane was also tweaked to tell a contemporary tale about a New Orleans journalist and activist named Nova Bordelon whose sister returns home to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help her run the family’s 800-acre sugarcane farm after their father’s death.
“They’re able to take the essence and heart of the book and expand on that and really ask lot of questions this country is asking,” Baszile said.
As for the cast, “True Blood”‘s Rutina Wesley will play journalist and healer Nova Bordelon; Dawn-Lyen Gardner is Nova’s sister Charley Bordelon West;. Kofir Siriboe is brother Ralph Angel Bordelon, who was recently released from prison and trying to reconnect with this son; Ethan Hutchison plays Ralph Angel’s son, Blue; Tina Lifford is aunt Violet Bordelon; Omar Dorsey plays Hollywood Desonier, Violet’s younger lover; and Henry G. Sanders is family friend Prosper Denton.
Watch the first trailer for the show below. After the two-part premiere, “Queen Sugar” will air Wednesdays at 10/9c. If you don’t get the OWN network, you can download the OWN App and watch the show there.