The Good Place star William Jackson Harper has joined the cast of Barry Jenkins’ Amazon limited series, The Underground Railroad. 

He’ll appear in a recurring role, joining leads Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Aaron Pierre.

The series originally landed at Amazon in March 2017 with a script-to-series commitment. Jenkins is re-teaming with his Moonlight producers (Brad Pitt’s) Plan B, and Adele Romanski, to adapt the Colson Whitehead novel, which chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.

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.

Harper is set to play Royal, described as “a freeborn black man who Cora (Mbedu) encounters on her epic journey.”

Aside from the final season of The Good Place, Harper is starring in Focus Features’ Untitled Todd Haynes project that’s coming up soon and recently starred in A24’s Midsommar. 

Deadline first reported his casting.



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