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‘Moonlight’ Director Barry Jenkins’ Next Project Is Profoundly Important

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins is still celebrating his Oscar win, but it looks like he’s prepared to take on another sensational project, this time focusing on slavery and the abolitionist movement.

Jenkins is teaming up with Amazon to bring Colson Whitehead’s critically acclaimed novel, The Underground Railroad to the TV screen.

Jenkins will direct the mini-series which follows Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia on the verge of womanhood. Already a victim to the violent institution of slavery, Cora also finds herself ostracized by her fellow enslaved people. However, after she encounters Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, and learns of the Underground Railroad, she decides to take the risk of a lifetime and run. Unfortunately, her journey does not go as planned. Cora ends up killing a young white slave catcher while dealing with the racist nuances of each slave state.

When Whitehead’s book was released on August 2, 2016, Oprah Winfrey announced it as one of her book club picks. She said that the novel, “Kept me up at night, had my heart in my throat, almost afraid to turn the next page. Get it, then get another copy for someone you know because you are definitely going to want to talk about it once you read that heart-stopping last page.” The New York Times Bestseller has sold over 825,000 copies in the United States across all formats.

WGN America’s riveting series Underground which also explores the antebellum period and the Underground Railroad, proves that the history of slavery in this country can be represented in a profound and compelling way on television. Jenkins said of the forthcoming series,”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.” It looks Moonlight was only beginning for Jenkins’ groundbreaking work.

Barry Jenkins just might snag an Emmy to go along with his Oscar. There is no debut date set for the series, but it’ll probably drop sometime next year. Will you be watching?