The award-winning American television mini-series Roots, charting the life of slave Kunte Kinte, is being re-made and will be a lot more brutal than the original.

Roots, based on Alex Haley’s book, was one of the highest-rated shows of the decade.

Now a new, “more realistic” version is being filmed on location in New Orleans and South Africa and will be screened in the UK later this year, reports the Mirror.

One of its stars, Brit actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim, has told how Roots isn’t pulling any punches in how it realistically portrays how slaves were treated.

Hakeem told of his mixed emotions about agreeing to take the part of vicious Samson – whose role is to “break in” the new slaves.

The Hotel Rwanda, Pirates of the Caribbean and 24 star, who was born in Nigeria, but raised in the UK, said: “Samson is a brute who breaks young slaves like they are horses. He puts the fear of God into them.

“I thought long and hard about whether to take the part – but eventually felt this is a story that just had to be told.

“This new version is a lot more earthy, gritty and brutal, than the original.

“It was felt the original was a little bit anodyne, it glossed over some of the harsher realities of the time.

“A modern audience expects to see more of the brutal truth and they certainly get to see that. This new version of Roots doesn’t pull any punches.”

Malachi Kirby (who has had small roles in EastEnders, Doctor Who, Silent Witness and Jekyll & Hyde) plays Kunta Kinte in the mini-series, which also stars Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin and Laurence Fishburne as Alex Haley.