Netflix's Colin Kaepernick Scripted Series Casts Jaden Michael as Former NFL Star and Activist
The streaming service announced Tuesday that actor Jaden Michael has been cast as the 32-year-old former NFL quarterback and activist during his high school years in Colin in Black & White, created by Kaepernick and Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay.
Michael, 17, has previously appeared in Todd Haynes’ drama Wonderstruck, Baz Lurhmann's The Get Down, and indie film Custody. Most recently, he starred in Lorne Michaels’ comedy, Vampires vs. The Bronx.
Michael Starrbury is executive producing and writing for Colin in Black & White, alongside DuVernay, 47, and Kaepernick, 32, who will also be the narrator.
The six-episode series was conceived in 2019 and its script was finished this year. According to Netflix, the series will explore Kaepernick’s years as a Black teen growing up with a white adoptive family and how it informed the person he is today.
Starrbury and DuVernay last worked together on Netflix's limited series When They See Us, which received 16 Emmy nominations and was recently honored with a Peabody Award.
Kaepernick famously began the #TakeAKnee movement in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to call attention to the issues of racial inequality. The demonstrations made him the target of critics who thought kneeling during the anthem was intended to be disrespectful toward the flag and troops. (In fact, it was a former Green Beret who advised Kaepernick to kneel instead of remaining seated during the protests.)
The #TakeAKnee movement attracted renewed attention in May after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer forcibly placed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
After opting out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017, Kaepernick has not played in an NFL game since.
"With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally," DuVernay said in a statement in June. "Colin's story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn't be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix."
A release date for Colin in Black & White has yet to be announced.