Amazon Studios has confirmed that Barry Jenkins will direct all 11 episodes of the limited series The Underground Railroad, after officially green-lighting the drama, according to Deadline.
The series is based on the 2016 best-selling novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead. The novel, which blends elements of historical fiction and fable, follows Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Because she’s an outcast even among her fellow slaves, she decides to flee north via the Underground Railroad—which, in Whitehead’s novel, is no metaphor. Even aboard the train, Cora is pursued by slavehunters as she moves from state to state. The novel won both the National Book Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. We placed it at the top of our list of 2016’s best novels.
Jenkins also directed and co-wrote 2016’s Moonlight, winning Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and (in that infamous “Gotcha!” moment) Best Picture over La La Land.
In a statement, head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke voiced her excitement to have Jenkins at the head of the series: “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.”
Jenkins is currently directing an adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, starring Stephan James, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Regina King and Teyonah Parris. The film is due out Jan. 11, 2019.
Check back for more news on The Underground Railroad as it continues moving forward.