STARZ NAMES OSCAR(R) NOMINEE RACHEL MORRISON DIRECTOR FOR "HIGHTOWN"
Shane Harper and Atkins Estimond Join Cast
of Scripted Crime Drama
Santa Monica, Calif. - February 5, 2019 - Starz, a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), today announced Academy Award(R) nominee Rachel Morrison (Black Panther, Fruitvale Station) will direct the original series "Hightown."
The Cambridge, Mass. native became the first female director of photography to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography in 2018 for her work on Mudbound. She also served as director of photography for Fruitvale Station and the Oscar(R)-nominated Marvel super-hit Black Panther.
"Rachel is more than ready to set the tone, atmosphere and authenticity of 'Hightown,'" said Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming for Starz. "Rachel is a true trailblazer whose experience and remarkable creative vision have proved to be both impactful and impressive. I can't wait to see the results from Rachel, Rebecca and the entire cast working together."
Morrison began her career working on series and movies for a number of networks and is best known for films Fruitvale Station (2013), Cake (2014), Dope (2015), Mudbound (2017) and Black Panther (2018). She won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best cinematography and earned nominations from the Critics' Choice Awards and American Society of Cinematographers for her work on Mudbound. Morrison earned an undergrad degree in photography at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a master's in cinematography at the American Film Institute. Morrison is repped by CAA and Susan Solomon-Shapiro at Circle of Confusion.
Shane Harper ("Code Black," "Happyland") and Atkins Estimond ("The Resident," "StartUp," "Lodge 49") join the cast of "Hightown" as "Junior" and "Osito." Harper plays Junior, the son of a Cape Cod fisherman who's 90 days clean, but as he tries to stay sober, he engages in illegal activity to earn enough money to reunite him with his girlfriend and their baby. Estimond portrays Osito, a hardened gangster who has a soft spot for Junior and cultivates a relationship with his soldier-in-training.
Shane Harper has established himself as a triple threat artist - singer, actor, dancer. He began working as a professional dancer in the entertainment industry when he was just 13, transitioning easily into acting with a recurring role on the hit Disney Channel show "Good Luck Charlie" for all four seasons. Shortly after, he landed a large recurring role on MTV's hit comedy series "Awkward." As an actor in film, Harper got his start working with the legendary Rob Reiner, in a supporting role for the movie "Flipped" and was the lead role in the independent feature film God's Not Dead, which grossed over 60 million at the box office. Most recently, Harper appeared in the 1950's indie drama Flock Of Four. He is repped by WME with legal representation by JR McGinnis at Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson LLP.
Atkins Estimond was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and discovered his love for acting in theatre. After graduating high school, he transitioned to TV/film and briefly studied at the University of North Georgia as part of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance before acting full time in Atlanta. Atkins has found great success in his career and can be seen on shows such as "The Resident," "Lodge 49," "Hap and Leonard," "Love Is" and more. He can also be seen in films including SuperFly and An Actor Prepares. He is repped by Buchwald, People Store and Tassell Talent Group with legal representation by Meyers & Downs.
The scripted crime drama from Jerry Bruckheimer TV is set amid the drug trade on Cape Cod, touched off when a body washes ashore and is discovered by an irreverent National Marine Fisheries Service officer who is determined to help solve the murder even if the state cops want her nowhere near the case.
"Hightown" is written and executive produced by Rebecca Cutter with Gary Lennon executive producing with Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, Top Gun: Maverick, "The Amazing Race"), Jonathan Littman ("Lucifer," "The Amazing Race," CSI Franchise) and KristieAnne Reed ("CSI: Cyber," "Lucifer," "L.A.'s Finest") from JBTV. Monica Raymund ("Chicago Fire," "The Good Wife") and James Badge Dale (Hold the Dark, 13 Hours) star. Production begins in March.
Starz retains all domestic multiplatform pay TV and SVOD rights to the series. Lionsgate retains all international and domestic distribution and home entertainment rights.
Senior Vice Presidents of Original Programming Ken Segna and Susan Lewis are the Starz executives overseeing "Hightown."
Starz (www.starz.com), a Lionsgate company (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), is a leading global media and entertainment company that produces and distributes premium streaming content to worldwide audiences across subscription television platforms. Starz is home to the flagship domestic STARZ(R) brand, STARZ ENCORE, 17 premium pay TV channels and the associated on-demand and online services, including the highly-rated STARZ app. With the launch of the STARZPLAY international premium streaming platform and STARZ PLAY Arabia, Starz is expanding its global footprint in a growing number of territories. Sold through multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, telecommunications companies, and other online and digital platforms, Starz offers subscribers more than 10,000 distinct premium television episodes and feature films, including STARZ Original series, first-run movies and other popular programming.