Starring And Executive Produced By Oscar® Nominee Ethan Hawke
New Limited Series To Premiere On Sunday, February 16, 2020
Emmy® Nominee David Morse, Steve Zahn, Orlando Jones
And Ellar Coltrane Join As Guest Stars
Photos: Sophie Elgor & Brian Bowen Smith
LOS ANGELES – August 2, 2019 – SHOWTIME announced that Grammy® and Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) has joined the cast of THE GOOD LORD BIRD as another legendary historical character, abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Wyatt Russell (Lodge 49) will star in several episodes as Jeb Stuart, a federal officer with orders to apprehend John Brown (Ethan Hawke). From Blumhouse Television and based on the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird by bestselling author James McBride, the eight-part limited event series will premiere on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The announcement was made today by Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, Presidents of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc., at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour.
Diggs will play Frederick Douglass, the well-known orator and leader of the abolitionist movement and Union Civil War effort. Douglass works with Brown and encourages the raid on Harpers Ferry, but finds Brown’s planning and leadership style questionable and his approach dangerous, bordering on suicidal. Diggs is a Tony, Grammy and Lucille Lortel Award winning actor, rapper, singer and songwriter best known for his Grammy and Tony Award winning performance in the Broadway sensation Hamilton. Most recently he returned to the Public Theater to star in Suzan-Lori Parks’ Outer Critics Circle Award winning play White Noise. Diggs co-wrote, produced and starred in the 2018 film Blindspotting, which premiered at Sundance and earned him a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards. On television, he can be seen in Snowpiercer, Green Eggs and Ham, Blackish, The Get Down, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and more. His film credits include Zootopia, Wonder, and Ferdinand.
Russell stars as Jeb Stuart, a no-nonsense federal army officer with orders to apprehend John Brown in Kansas. He is promoted in rank several times during his failed attempts to negotiate Brown’s surrender. Despite having some sympathy for Brown’s cause of freedom, he disagrees with his tactics of murder and coercion, and is later tasked with leading the federal response to Brown’s takeover of Harpers Ferry. Russell stars in Lodge 49 and the upcoming film The Woman in the Window opposite Amy Adams. He was previously seen in Black Mirror and Richard Linklater’s Gotham Award nominated film Everybody Wants Some!! His film credits include Folk Hero & Funny Guy, Overlord, Blaze, Ingrid Goes West, Table 19, 22 Jump Street, Love and Honor, among others.
SHOWTIME has also cast Emmy nominee David Morse (ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA) as Dutch Henry Sherman, Steve Zahn (War of the Planet of the Apes) as Chase, Orlando Jones (American Gods) as The Rail Man and Screen Actors Guild® Award nominee Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood) as Salmon Brown. Mo Brings Plenty (Yellowstone), Jack Alcott (Champagne ILL), Nick Eversman (The Duff), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Madame Secretary) and Beau Knapp (Shots Fired) will also star.
THE GOOD LORD BIRD is told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Johnson-Lionel, Blackish), a fictional enslaved boy, who is part of Brown’s motley crew of abolitionist soldiers during the time of Bleeding Kansas, eventually participating in the famous 1859 raid on the Army depot at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was the instigating event that started the Civil War. Mark Richard is the showrunner and executive produces with Ethan Hawke, who together wrote the first episode of the series. THE GOOD LORD BIRD is also executive produced by James McBride, Albert Hughes – in his television directorial debut helming multiple episodes — Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman and Marshall Persinger. Additional directors include Kevin Hooks, Darnell Martin and Haifaa Al Mansour.
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