The streamer has given the limited series project a nine-episode order with Twilight Zone writer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds adapting for 20th Television. The project, which is also exec produced by This Is Us star Brown, has been in development at the digital platform for a couple of years.
Washington Black follows the 19th-century adventures of George Washington “Wash” Black – an 11-year-old boy on a Barbados sugar plantation who must flee after a shocking death threatens to upend his life. Brown will play the gregarious, larger-than-life Medwin Harris, who traveled the world after a traumatic childhood as a Black refugee in Nova Scotia as the de facto Mayor of Black Halifax prioritizes the community over everything except Washington Black, his young protégé. Meeting Wash sends him down a challenging path of self-discovery. And as the barricades around his heart start to fall, Medwin will learn to dream again.
Washington Black is executive produced by Hinds, Brown under his Indian Meadows Productions banner, The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams and DJ Goldberg, Anthony Hemingway and Jennifer Johnson. Esi Edugyan is co-producer.
“Washington Black inspires me,” said Brown. “This young man and the adventure he undertakes remind me of how the power of imagination and the creativity of artistry can transform the world in which we live. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds has taken the transcendent words of Esi Edugyan and created a spectacular universe that brings to fruition the power of possibility.”
Hinds added: “The world has felt like we’re living in darkest night, stumbling to find and hold onto a North Star to make a way forward. Like many of us, I’ve felt lost far too often. But writing Washington Black these past two years has guided me back home. This story of a young Black boy who becomes a globe-trotting artist, scientist and inventor. This tale of the true human superpowers: hope, love, empathy, persistence. Those ideas have been my North Star. The promise that we will get through the long night and take flight like Wash under the light of the sun. This show has been a conduit to that faith for those of us who’ve been creating it, and we’re beyond thrilled to be about the business of sharing it with all of you.”
Said Jordan Helman, head of Scripted Content at Hulu: “What Selwyn, Sterling and their inspired team of collaborators have crafted is a deeply romantic, globe-trotting adventure that is highly entertaining and unlike anything else on television. It is a remarkable tale of hope, wonder and perseverance, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with such incredible storytellers to bring this series to the screen.”
Added Karey Burke, president of 20th Television. “Bringing Esi Edugyan’s prize-winning book to television has been a passion project for Selwyn and Sterling, and we are grateful to Hulu for their belief in this wildly ambitious and aspirational project. Our relationship with the amazing Sterling K. Brown dates all the way back to The People v O.J. and of course This Is Us, so we couldn’t be happier to be continuing our collaboration with him as both a producer and a performer on this beautiful series.”
Brown is represented by JWS Entertainment, CAA, and Ziffren Brittenham, Hinds is repped by CAA, The Gotham Group and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. The author is repped by The Gotham Group on behalf of Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group Literary Agency.