The last time Amazon gave a blank check to the director of a Best Picture winner, it was for the Small Axe series, and that turned out out pretty well. Now it’s Barry Jenkins’ turn.
The Oscar-winning writer and director of Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk has turned Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-decorated novel The Underground Railroad into a limited series. It follows “Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad beneath the Southern soil,” according to the official plot description. Randall is played by Thuso Mbedu, while the rest of the cast includes Damon Herriman, William Jackson Harper, Chase W. Dillon, Amber Gray, Lily Rabe, and Joel Edgerton. “We are Africans in America. Something new to the history of the world,” a voiceover says in the trailer over clips from the series.
Jackson Harper, who played Chidi on The Good Place, hopes The Underground Railroad makes people “look into themselves and see who they would be in these scenarios because not everyone would be the protagonist, not everyone would be the person that’s fighting against this injustice… It’s my hope that people can watch this and really connect with the story and get angry. I would also hope that people would take that time to examine who they would be in that world.”
The Underground Railroad premieres on Amazon Prime Video on May 14.