Y’lan Noel will star as the leading role in the FX adaptation of Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel The Spook Who Sat By The Door. The potential series, which is at the pilot stage right now, will be produced by Lee Daniels, written by Leigh Dana Jackson and directed by Gerard McMurray. Noel was directed by McMurray in 2018’s The First Purge.
Like the novel, the miniseries highlights structural racism in the U.S. by following a Black CIA operative. The Insecure actor will play the fictional Dan Freeman, who is the only Black CIA operative in government. Described as “a patriot, a Vietnam vet, and secretly, a Black revolutionary.” Jackson will act as showrunner and executive produce with Daniels, McMurray, and Marc Velez.
The project has been in the works for some time. The last news that came out about it was in 2019 when it landed at FX. In 2018 it was announced that Lee Daniels Entertainment, with Fox 21 Television Studios (which has now folded into Disney’s 20th Television), had optioned the novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door to develop a TV series based on the book by Sam Greenlee and the 1973 film.
The novel was first released in 1969. The 1973 film starred Lawrence Cook, Janet League and Paula Kelly. In 2012, the movie was added to the National Film Registry.
Trey Mangum also contributed to this report.