*Ask Louis Gossett, Jr. about the classic miniseries “Roots” and he’ll probably share memories of playing Fiddler on the historic TV film as well as the impact it had on society and the folks who watched it.
Ask Gossett about the upcoming remake of “Roots” and his answer may throw you off guard. In an interview with TV One’s “News One Now,” the actor weighed in on the much-anticipated feature as he voiced his belief that it should not happen.
“My view, it’s been done. The story has been told. We can’t reinvent the wheel,” Gossett told the show’s host Roland Martin while on the red carpet of the this year’s Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, GA. “There’s so much else. There’s a continuum. A renaissance, soldiers, literary people. There’s so much to tell in continuation. That’s a legacy we should continue if we have that air time…we have a lot of stories about us that people need to know about.”
Based on Alex Haley‘s novel, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” “Roots” chronicles the life of Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), an 18th century African who was captured and sold into slavery in the U.S. In addition to Gossett and Burton, the miniseries featured John Amos, Leslie Uggams, and Ben Vereen.
Since airing on ABC in 1977, “Roots” went on to win nine Emmys after receiving 31 nominations. It’s finale is noted for being the third highest rated episode of any type of television series as well as the second most watched series finale in U.S. television history.
A sequel, Roots: The Next Generations came in 1979 followed by “Roots: The Gift,” which starred Burton and Gossett, in 1988. The story of Haley’s paternal grandmother, Queen Jackson Haley, was told in “Alex Haley’s Queen.” The 1993 miniseries starred Halle Berry in the title role as well as Danny Glover, Jasmine Guy, Martin Sheen, Ann Margaret, Paul Winfield, Tim Daly and Raven-Symoné.
In 2013, news of a “Roots” remake surfaced as the History channel revealed plans to air a new eight-hour miniseries after acquiring the rights to the original film from Haley’s estate and Mark Wolper, the son of “Roots” executive producer David L. Wolper.
The 23rd annual Trumpet Awards is set to air at 8 PM/ET Saturday (Feb. 21) on TV One.