Allan Hawco has taken on a very different role from his usual portrayal of Jake Doyle, and is in South Africa to film a TV miniseries adaptation of critically-acclaimed novel The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

The Canada-South Africa co-production will air on CBC in Canada, and BET in the United States.

Hawco will be playing the role of Solomon Lindo.

"When I read the material, I'd read the script before I'd read the book, and it just drew me in ... and the character is, all I can say is he's very different from what I'm used to playing on Republic of Doyle, that's for sure," he said.

Hawco said the process of signing on to the project moved quickly for him, and just fits in with his existing schedule.

"It just turns out that it works out perfectly within the time allotted for me to be able to travel," Hawco said.

"If we were planning to do another season of Doyle, if that works out, I'll be able to be here, I'll be able to write … and I'll be able to be home in time and still do my play in Toronto, so it's perfect."

Also starring in the production are Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis.