After a series of teasers, most of which dropped on Vimeo by Barry Jenkins himself, we have the first, full-length trailer for Amazon’s upcoming limited drama series, The Underground Railroad. The show will premiere on May 14. The limited series has 10 episodes.
The Underground Railroad stars Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Joel Edgerton. Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter and Peter Mullan also star.
The work of the last four years of my life… is yours. https://t.co/8QevzbboSe
— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) April 15, 2021
Jenkins reteamed her Moonlight producers (Brad Pitt’s) Plan B, and Adele Romanski, to adapt the Colson Whitehead novel, which chronicles a young enslaved woman’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Here’s the Amazon logline: The limited series chronicles young Cora’s (Mbedu) journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
The novel’s official summary reads: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its Black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space.
In January, Shadow and Act had the chance to talk about the series with the Oscar winner. “This show isn’t a show about slavery. It’s a show about the character Cora,” he continued. “I think when we talk about slavery, in a way, we almost dehumanize the folks who were enslaved against their will. We almost rob them of their personhood. We assume the condition of being enslaved was the totality of their experience and the totality of their humanity.”
Watch the trailer below: