HBO will be filming a pilot in Minneapolis this October.
Last December, it was announced that the Kathryn Bigelow-produced show would be titled The Recruiters, leaving folks to wonder if the focus would be on Somalis who leave Minnesota to join ISIS. Now, the show is going by Mogadishu, Minnesota and, according to a report from Variety, is a family drama about Somali-Americans and their experiences and struggles in the U.S.
The show boasts a large ensemble cast of nine main actors, and character descriptions were announced today. Some may be familiar with a few names, including Elvis Nolasco (American Crime), Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede, and Somali-British standup Prince Abdi.
The rest of the cast appears to be relatively unknown. We'll have to see if the new series offers a breakthrough in any of their careers.
Even though anything has yet to be filmed, the project has not been without controversy. Members from the local Somali community, concerned with representation on the series, rallied in protest during K'Naan's recent Twin Cities concert on the West Bank. The Canadian-Somali hip-hop artist co-wrote the pilot.
We'll have to wait and see if those concerns have been heard and will be addressed. Meanwhile, cast descriptions include Sameer, a smart teen who plans to go to college; Bisbaas, a gangster with a "surprising violent streak"; Afrah, a former Somali professor who now works at a rental car company; and a hard-working business owner who who runs a hookah shop.
K'Naan announced Toronto casting calls via Twitter back in December.