Q&A With LeVar Burton

The former Reading Rainbow host and Roots actor visits Indy PopCon at the Convention Center June 8–10.

So what will you be doing at PopCon?
It’s just a good way to stay in touch with the fans. I’ll be taking pictures and signing autographs. I also have the opportunity to spread the word about LeVar Burton Kids and Skybrary, my digital library, as well as LeVar Burton Reads, my podcast. I’ve been doing this for more than 40 years, and I feel lucky to have been inserted in some really pivotal pieces of pop culture.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
Well, Wil Wheaton will be there. I rarely get to see him, so that will be fun. And I’m sure a lot of people will come to meet the actors who play Bran and Hodor from Game of Thrones. Also, I married a Hoosier, so my wife is just up the road visiting her mom in Fort Wayne. I’m hoping there might be a surprise visit from her.

You were co-executive producer for the 2016 remake of Roots. The 1977 original, of course, was a landmark cultural moment. Why did you think it was time to reinvent that?
I actually didn’t. Normally, I’m not a fan of remakes. But I was convinced by a single conversation with Mark Wolper, son of the original Roots executive producer, David Wolper. When Mark showed the original to his teenage children, they couldn’t relate to it. They didn’t recognize the cast members. The photography, the lighting, the make-up—it all dated itself. We remade it to keep this story alive in American culture, which meant introducing it to a new generation in a way they would embrace and understand.

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