Grammy and Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) and Wyatt Russell (Lodge 49) are for key roles opposite Ethan Hawke in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird based on James McBride’s novel, from Blumhouse Television. The eight-part limited event series will premiere on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 10 PM ET/PT.
The Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Johnson-Lionel), 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.
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.
Russell will star in several episodes as Jeb Stuart, a federal officer with orders to apprehend John Brown (Hawke).
New cast also includes 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 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.
Diggs is best known for his Grammy and Tony Award winning performance in the Broadway sensation Hamilton. 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 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!!
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.