A month after his big win at the Oscars, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has announced his next project: an adaptation of the Colson Whitehead’s THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, which has landed at Amazon Studios. The project will be a limited series of hourlong episodes, although no episode count has been revealed yet.
Jenkins will write and direct the series, which chronicles the journey of Cora and Caesar, two slaves who escape their Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, which, in the novel, is an actual underground train. The book became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, a choice for Oprah’s Book Club 2016, and winner of the 2016 National Book Award for fiction.
In speaking about the book and project, Jenkins said: “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way. Preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon, we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”
The series will be produced by Jenkins’ Pastel and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, both of which also produced Moonlight.
Most recently, Jenkins directed an episode of Netflix’s upcoming Dear White People series and he has two films currently in development: A Contract with God, in which Jenkins will direct one of the stories within the adaptation, and an untitled Universal film based on the documentary T-Rex, which Jenkins is writing.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor