‘Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) will direct all 11 episodes of limited series The Underground Railroad, which has received a formal greenlight by Amazon.
Amazon Studios landed the new take on the story of the underground railroad from Jenkins’ PASTEL and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, in March 2017 with a script-to-series commitment.
The project is based on Colson Whitehead’s bestselling novel The Underground Railroad, which won a Pulitzer Prize a month after Amazon bought the adaptation. The book, which drew critical praise for its imaginative blend of history and magical fable – moving beyond the boundaries of realism in its depiction of a mythical underground train that transports slaves across an alternate America — also was a 2016 National Book Award winner and Oprah Book Club pick.
“Working with Amazon and a wonderful group of screenwriters to develop Colson’s novel into a limited series has been an extremely rewarding experience,” Jenkins said. “Translating his singular voice into a cohesive and equally singular visual language is a task I very much look forward to.”
The Underground Railroad, which will be released on Amazon Prime Video, centers on young Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape.
Amazon has found success with another alternate-history drama series, The Man In The High Castle, set to return for Season 3 later this year.