Amazon has officially ordered The Underground Railroad limited series from Barry Jenkins. He’ll direct all eleven episodes.
It was originally landed at Amazon in March 2017 with a script-to-series commitment.
Jenkins is re-teaming with his Moonlight producers (Brad Pitt’s) Plan B, and Adele Romanski, to adapt Colson Whitehead’s novel, which chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
The novel’s official summary reads: Cora is 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. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space.
Oprah Winfrey, when she announced it as a Book Club selection, said: “Kept me up at night, had my heart in my throat, almost afraid to turn the next page. Get it, then get another copy for someone you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about it once you read that heart-stopping last page.”
“It’s an absolute gift to have Barry Jenkins commit to directing all the episodes for our upcoming limited series The Underground Railroad. Barry’s eye for character and sustained exhilarating, emotional storytelling style ensures that this project is in the right hands. We can’t wait to get started and bring this significant story to our Prime Video audience,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.
“Working with Amazon and a wonderful group of screenwriters to develop Colson’s novel into a limited series has been an extremely rewarding experience. Translating his singular voice into a cohesive and equally singular visual language is a task I very much look forward to,” said Jenkins.
No production start date or ETA is known as of yet.