Moonlight's Barry Jenkins to Write, Direct Amazon Limited Drama The Underground Railroad

Based on Colson Whitehead's National Book Award-winning novel

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<i>Moonlight</i>'s Barry Jenkins to Write, Direct Amazon Limited Drama <i>The Underground Railroad</i>

Oscar-winning Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has chosen his next project—an Amazon one-hour limited drama titled The Underground Railroad.

The series will be based off Colson Whitehead’s award-winning book The Underground Railroad, which follows the story of Cora, a young slave girl. Cora escapes from her Georgia plantation and heads for the fabled Underground Railroad, only to find an actual underground railroad—yup, an actual, working railroad complete with conductors, engineers and a secret network of tunnels beneath the American South. The novel was chosen as an Oprah Book club selection, became a number-one New York Times bestseller, won the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and topped Paste’s list of the year’s best novels.

For Jenkins, Whitehead’s novel was perfect for his next project. “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,” said Jenkins in a statement. “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.”

“Colson Whitehead’s book is a sweeping, character-driven, boundary-destroying epic,” said Joe Lewis, Amazon Studios’ Head of Comedy, Drama and VR. “Having Barry bring it to life for Amazon Studios is thrilling. We couldn’t be more excited to see what they create.”

Jenkins will serve as writer and director, and the series will be produced by Jenkins’ own Pastel (Moonlight) and Brad Pitt’s Plan B productions (Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave). There’s no word yet as to a premiere date, as the series is still in development at Amazon, but we’ll definitely be keeping an ear out. After Moonlight’s incredible success, it’ll be exciting to see what else Jenkins can do.

Read Paste’s review of Moonlight here, and don’t miss our ongoing coverage of Underground, the Underground Railroad drama from Misha Green we’re currently obsessed with.