Actor Wendell Pierce, co-star of HBO’s crime drama “The Wire,” and Anna Deavere Smith from NBC’s “The West Wing” have joined Queen Latifah in the cast of the HBO original movie “Life Support.”
Also cast in the film, executive produced by Latifah and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, are two children of pop star Diana Ross — Evan Ross and Tracee Ellis Ross — as well as Tony Rock of the UPN sitcom “All of Us” and newcomer Rachel Nicks.
Based on a true story, “Life Support” centers on Ana Willis (Queen Latifah), an HIV-positive former addict who has overcome her drug dependency to become a wife and mother committed to educating people in the black community on how to protect themselves from becoming infected.
Pierce will play Willis’ husband, Smith will play her mother, and Nicks will play her daughter.
Evan Ross, whose credits include the features “ATL” and the upcoming “P.D.R.,” will play Trace, a gay teenager and childhood friend of Willis’ daughter who was born HIV-positive and ends up on the street, selling his AIDS drugs for money.
His real-life half-sister, Tracee Ellis Ross, landed the role of his older sister in the movie. Rock will play a friend of Trace.
“Life Support” was written by Nelson George — on whose sister’s story the movie is based — along with Elizabeth Hunter and Jim McKay & Hannah Weyer. George also is attached to direct the movie, slated to begin production this week in New York.