MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The cast of an upcoming HBO show set in Minneapolis has been announced, and producers are working to get approval to begin filming.
The show, called “Mogadishu, Minnesota,” is set in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside area. It’s described as a “family drama” grappling with what it means to be American among the Somali community in Minnesota.
A Somali-Canadian rapper — K’naan Warsame — is set to write and direct the series. Katheryn Bigelow — director of critically-acclaimed films “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” — is producing.
The cast, just announced in a report from Variety, includes “American Crime” star Elvis Nolasco, Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede and Somali-born, British stand-up comedian Prince Abdi. Much of the listed cast, however, appears to be relatively unknown. It’s not immediately clear whether any of the cast members are local to the Twin Cities.
On Wednesday night, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) unanimously approved a proposal to begin filming in the MPHA owned-and-managed Cedar High Apartments near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and 6th Street. Filming could start as soon as October.
The project still has to be approved by the building’s resident council, and that may not be a done deal. The Somali community in Minneapolis has been notably divided on the project coming to their neighborhood — some residents worry that the show could reinforce ethnic and Muslim stereotypes about terrorism, while others say it’s a rare chance for the country to see Minnesota from the Somali perspective.
Earlier this month, K’naan hosted a free concert in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood that was interrupted by protesters who opposed the new show. Police had to use pepper spray, and at least one protester was arrested.