You’d think that John Goodman would have had enough drama between everything that went down with Roseanne and its rebirth as The Conners, but apparently he was looking for more and he found it — over at Netflix. John stars in the drama, produced along with England’s BBC, called Black Earth Rising.
The show is officially described as follows: “The story centers on Kate Ashby [Michaela Coel], who works as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis [John Goodman]. When Kate’s adoptive mother Eve takes on a case prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever.”
Yeah, definitely sounds a little bit different than The Conners. “I’d just come off a long year and quite frankly, I was tired and burnt out when I took this project,” John says in a BBC-provided interview, “and I must say, it rejuvenated me. It was lovely to be doing something where I look forward to going to work every day.”
From the same source, the series’ writer/director/producer Hugo Blick says of the actor’s involvement, “John brought such intelligence and humor to Michael Ennis that I simply couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role.”
It was that humor that Hugo wanted, believing that it provides a different sort of energy to a drama. John agrees, explaining, “It’s the energy of desperately trying to fit in! I think it fights against audience expectations. It casts against type and brings a tension to the piece. I don’t particularly think of myself as very funny, but I guess some people do. Michael Ennis is desperately sad and he overcompensates for this, and perhaps that’s where the humor comes from.”
As to what attracted him to the project, he notes it was “the script and the script and the script. And Hugo — his energy and his great humor. I just loved working with him. I’d never played anybody quite like this and I thought it would be a bit of a challenge, so I hope I didn’t bite off more than I can chew! And I was also drawn to the prospect of working in London.”
“He seems to be a very lonely man,” adds John regarding Michael Ennis. “Disconnected and disheartened. And I think he’s trying to fight his way back into a life. It appears that he’s a bit lost. He has cancer, his daughter is in a coma, and out of guilt and duty he feels he has to find the passion that drove him in the first place.”
Netflix will be announcing a premiere date soon. The show will begin airing in England on the BBC Sept. 10.