Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is writing and directing a one-hour limited drama series based on Colson Whitehead’s 2016 New York Times best-seller, The Underground Railroad. Brad Pitt’s Plan B (Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave) will executive produce the series alongside Pastel (Moonlight).
The Underground Railroad won the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction. The book chronicles the journey of Cora, a fugitive slave who pursues freedom via the rumored Underground Railroad after escaping her Georgia plantation.
In a statement about the Amazon series, Jenkins praised Whitehead’s writing as “[defying] convention,” calling the novel “a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.” The filmmaker added, “preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking.”
Jenkins was nominated for Best Director and won for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2017 Oscars. Moonlight received eight total nominations and won for Best Picture. Peter Travers ranked Moonlight as the year’s third-best film in his 2016 round-up.