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Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins to direct Underground Railroad series for Amazon

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Getty Images

Newly-minted Oscar winner Barry Jenkins has found his next project: The Moonlight director is heading to the small screen to adapt Colson Whitehead’s bestselling novel, The Underground Railroad. Amazon announced the one-hour drama via press release today, which will see Jenkins reteam with Moonlight producers Pastel and Plan B Entertainment. Jenkins will write and direct the series, which follows the book’s central character, Cora, a fugitive slave who learns there is a very tangible path to freedom from the antebellum South.

The Underground Railroad is a National Book Award winner and an Oprah’s Book Club selection, and it’s always had a fan in Jenkins, who calls Whitehead’s book a “groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.” He says the series aims to “[preserve] the sweep and grandeur of a story,” and the partnership with Amazon was inspired by the streaming company’s “reverence for storytelling and freeness of form [that’s] wholly in line with our vision.”


The series is in development, though a start date hasn’t been announced yet. But once it’s available, The Underground Railroad will be one of two (riveting) dramas on the subject, as WGN America’s Underground recently kicked off its second season with a bang.

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