Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke (Training Day, The Kid, The Magnificent Seven) is set to star in Good Lord Bird, an eight-episode limited series ordered at Showtime, Variety has confirmed. The series comes from Blumhouse Television and is based on the award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.
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Hawke will star as John Brown, a 19th-century abolitionist. Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of Onion, an enslaved teenager who becomes a member of Brown’s motley family 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.
Hawke said: “Good Lord Bird is one of my favorite books, told with wit, grace, and wisdom by the great James McBride. Bringing this story to the screen has been a passion project of mine, and I am incredibly fortunate to have partners who are equally enthusiastic and are making it a reality — my wife and producing partner Ryan Hawke, and my longtime friends at Blumhouse. I’m looking forward to working for the first time with the talented folks at Showtime and Anthony Hemingway — both of whom have made some of the best television in the last couple years.”
“This is just the right time for The Good Lord Bird. I wrote it to show we Americans are family — dysfunctional, screwy, funny, even dangerous to one another at times, but still family nonetheless. Old John Brown always had a knack for landing into the right place at the right time. I’m delighted he’s landed in the lap of one of America’s most gifted and literate actors. Ethan Hawke is special, and I’m thankful that Showtime and Blumhouse have shown faith and trust in one of America’s oddest, most profound, and greatest heroes,” added McBride.
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Hawke will co-write and executive produce the project alongside author and producer Mark Richard (Hell on Wheels) with Anthony Hemingway (American Crime Story) directing and executive producing. McBride will also executive produce alongside Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold, and Marci Wiseman.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)