Anika Noni Rose has been tapped for the lead role in the TNT pilot Beast Mode (working title).
The pilot was initially ordered in July, and it was first announced be in development in November 2017.
Tina Mabry will direct the pilot. Mabry, who was a director, writer and producer on recent seasons of Queen of the South and Queen Sugar is a writer and producer on the upcoming Fox series Proven Innocent.
According to the network, Beast Mode, inspired by the life of legendary boxing trainer Ann Wolfe, tells the story of a feisty, brilliant-yet-damaged woman with a “kill or be killed” mentality. While these qualities make her an excellent trainer, they tend to cause problems in the rest of her life.
Here’s the latest description that was announced with Rose’s casting, via Deadline: Pulling herself and her two daughters up from poverty, abuse, homelessness and criminality, Marsha Blackstone (Rose) reached the pinnacle of boxing as a fighter and has become equally as successful a trainer known for unconventional methods and a fiercely combative style. Driven by the belief that any step backward is a slippery slope to her former life, when the boxer Marsha trained to a world title fires her, this complex and inspiring woman is determined to find a new fighter to eclipse the one she lost, but her emotional baggage and militant style could be her undoing in her professional and personal life, especially with her two grown daughters, and a new baby on the way.
Out of 26 career fights, Wolfe only accumulated one loss in her professional boxing career and held multiple International Female Boxing Association titles simultaneously.
She has trained many boxers, including James Kirkland. She’s also an actress and portrays the Amazon warrior Artemis in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe, appearing in 2017’s Wonder Woman. Beast Mode is written and executive produced by David Schneiderman and produced by Wolfe and Charles D. King’s MACRO in association with Studio T, with executive producers Stefanie Huie and MACRO’s King, Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks.
Among its TV projects, MACRO is developing a series based on Octavia Butler’s Dawn from Victoria Mahoney and Ava DuVernay and has Netflix’s Raising Dion from Michael B. Jordan set for premiere in 2019.