Ethan Hawke Toplines Abolitionist ‘The Good Lord Bird’ Limited Series For Showtime; Anthony Hemingway Directing


Ethan Hawke and Jason Blum are certainly going to have some The Good Lord Bird to talk about today on-stage at SXSW now that Showtime has officially ordered the limited series.

His deal having just closed in the past few days, multiple Oscar nominee Hawke will play pivotal 19th-century abolitionist John Brown in the Blumhouse TV eight-parter.

Good Lord Bird the series is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by James McBride. The National Book Award for Fiction winner is told as a memoir of an enslaved teen. The story follows Henry Shackleford AKA “Little Onion as he joins up with Brown during the tense Bleeding Kansas era before the Civil War and has encounters with history and historical figures like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.

With Anthony Hemingway directing and executive producing, the First Reformed actor will also EP as well as co-write the adaption with author and Fear The Walking Dead scribe Mark Richard. Along with Hawke, Hemingway and Richard, James McBride, Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold and Marci Wiseman also serves as EPs

The limited series is expected to air in 2020, I hear.

Good Lord Bird is the second small screen collaboration by Hemingway and Blum in less than a year as the former was an EP and director on The Purge TV series.

Hawke and Blum, of course, worked together at the actor’s NYC-based Malaparte Theater Company and on the first Purge flick five years ago. The duo are in Austin today to talk about their latest project Adapt A Highway from director Logan Marshall-Green.

“This is just the right time for The Good Lord Bird, said McBride today of the Showtime announcement. I wrote it to show we Americans are Family – dysfunctional, screwy, funny, even dangerous to one another at times, but still family nonetheless.”

Good Lord Bird is one of my favorite books, told with wit, grace and wisdom by the great James McBride,” said Hawke in his own remarks. “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,” the actor added. “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.”

“I’ve been blessed to tell great stories that make deliberate social impact by tackling topical issues facing the world, especially communities of color,” stated Emmy winner Hemingway. “With all that is going on culturally, socially and politically, the climate is ripe for material that is culturally relevant and provocative,” The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story director and EP asserted. “Literature is truly transcendent and McBride blew our minds with The Good Lord Bird. Saying yes was apparent for me and my producing partner, Lyah LeFlore-Ituen. We’re both excited to continue building relationships with Showtime, Blumhouse, and our creative partners, including the masterful James McBride. Directorially, this will be filmmaking at its most artistic and I get to fulfill a bucket list experience – working with the incredible Ethan Hawke.”

Speaking of which, Hawke and Blum will be in Room 16AB of the Austin Convention Center at around 2 PM local time, if you wanna drop by.

SXSW 2019 itself ends on March 17.

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