A modern-day retelling of a landmark series

Roots is a historical portrait of American slavery, recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive and ultimately carry on their legacy despite hardship. 

This award-winning miniseries that first aired in 1977 is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The story is so powerful it got the attention of the whole world. When the book hit the market, it went to the top of bestseller lists for 22 weeks. When a miniseries was produced a year later, Americans watched it for eight straight days.

“It tells the story about how people overcome incredible injustice, how people live from the system of exploit. I think the battle is incredibly powerful and Roots tells a story that never gets old as it is still relevant in many parts of the world,” Regé-Jean Page, star of Roots reboot, told The Standard in a phone interview.

British-Zimbabwean actor Regé-Jean Page revives the iconic character previously played by Ben Vereen in the original version of the multi-awarede miniseries

The British-Zimbabwean actor plays the iconic “Chicken George” Moore, a cockfighter previously played by Ben Vereen in the original series. Asked how he got the role, Page shared, “I went to audition when I read the material. I was in London and the production was in America. When they got my tape, they got me on Skype with the director. It was a terrifying and uncomfortable experience but I’m glad I got the role.”

According to Page, Chicken George is an incredibly charming young man. It’s an iconic character whose main endeavor is to fight for and maintain his ambition in a world that is very oppressive.

“And that’s why I relate to most about him. I think he’s inspiring in that way and he refuses to have limitations,” the 26-year-old actor said.

Using modern production values and improved historical accuracy, Roots follows a saga of African-American life. The story starts with Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) being abducted from his African village, sold into slavery, and taken to America. He makes several escape attempts until he is finally caught and maimed. He marries Belle (Emayatzy Corinealdi), his plantation’s cook, and they have a daughter, Kizzy (Anika Noni Rose), who is eventually sold away from them. Kizzy has a son by her new master, and the boy grows up to become Chicken George (Page), a legendary cock fighter who leads his family into freedom. Throughout the series, the family observes notable events in U.S. history, such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings, and emancipation.

“We are re-telling a story that is already owned by the audience. We don’t own the characters we play. There are people who already know and have a great connection with the story. Hence, the challenge here is to live up to their expectations,” Page said when asked how different the reboot is going to be.

History is airing the landmark miniseries over four consecutive nights, at 9 p.m. from until June 3.  History is available on SKYCable Ch 67; Cable Link Ch. 43; Dream Satellite Ch 30; Destiny Cable Ch 57; and Cignal Ch 125.

Exploring auction houses

The Art of More lead cast Kate Bosworth, Christian Cooke, Dennis Quaid and Cary Elwes

On May 24, members of the media met at the Salcedo Auctions, the only internationally recognized auction house in the country. Organized by Sony Channel, the event gave members of the press a glimpse into the exciting and progressive world of buying and selling rare collectors’ items, art pieces, jewelry and other valuable properties.

Though auction houses are relatively unpopular in the country, it’s good to note that there are a few number of people, mostly elite, who flock to auction houses to sell and buy items at incredibly absurd prices. Hence, Salcedo Auctions was a logical setting for Sony Channel to also introduce its original production, The Art of More, which talks about, well, big money.

The Art of More premiered on Sony Channel on May 24. The one-hour drama explores the foible and surprisingly ruthless world of premium auction houses, filled with smugglers, hustlers, power mongers and collectors of the beautiful and the bizarre. It follows a blue-collar young man, Graham Connor (Christian Cooke), who leverages his way into this exclusive existence by utilizing his connections to the antiquities black market he was exposed to as a soldier in Iraq.

Dennis Quaid, also as the executive producer, stars as the charismatic real estate shark Samuel Brukner who has a penchant for ill-gotten art. Brukner is the life of the party, but when it comes to his money, he can be ruthless, shrewd and corrupt.  Kate Bosworth plays Roxanna Whitney, daughter of the CEO of one of the two warring auction houses — and a leading account executive. Although she was born into this exclusive world and thrives in it, she is riddled with insecurities that drive her to be a formidable executive in her own right.

The Art of More airs weekly on Sony Channel seen on SKYCable Ch 35; Cable Link Ch. 39; Destiny Cable Ch 62; and Cignal Ch 60.

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