It’s a whole new World for Mj Rodriguez.
The 29-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer has been cast in Between the World and Me, HBO’s adaptation of the stage show based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ New York Times bestseller.
Rodriguez joins a lineup of cast additions that includes Jharrel Jerome, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Wendell Pierce, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi and Michelle Wilson.
They join previously announced cast members Angela Bassett, Alicia Garza, Joe Morton, Phylicia Rashad, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson and Oprah Winfrey.
Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special will combine elements of that production, including readings from Coates’ book, and will again be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater executive producer Kamilah Forbes.
It will also incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage and animation.
The book, first published in 2015 by One World, is written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son and recounts the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city and his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community. The narrative explores Coates’ notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy.
The special, which is currently in production under COVID-19 guidelines, debuts this fall on HBO and will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
Rodriguez rose to acclaim on FX’s series Pose. Her other credits include television appearances on Luke Cage, The Carrie Diaries and Nurse Jackie.
In November 2019, Rodriguez landed a contract with Olay Body, becoming the first Latina trans woman to enter a partnership with the company.