The Good Lord Bird coming to Showtime
Good Lord Bird, told with wit, grace and wisdom by the great author James McBride, is one of my favorite books and won the National Book Award in 2013. Bringing this story to the screen has been a passion project of mine. Today makes it official. - Ethan
Official Press Release
SHOWTIME has ordered the eight-part limited series GOOD LORD BIRD from Blumhouse Television, based on the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird by bestselling author James McBride. Oscar®, Golden Globe® and Tony® nominee Ethan Hawke will star as 19th-century abolitionist John Brown and is co-writing and executive producing with award-winning author and producer Mark Richard (The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Hell on Wheels). Albert Hughes will direct and executive produce. GOOD LORD BIRD is told from the point of view of Onion, an enslaved teenager who becomes a member in Brown’s motley family during the time of Bleeding Kansas, eventually participating 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.
James McBride said: “This is just the right time forThe Good Lord Bird. I wrote it to show we Americans are Family – dysfunctional, screwy, funny, even dangerous to one another at times, but still family nonetheless. Old John Brown always had a knack for landing into the right place at the right time. I’m delighted he’s landed in the lap of one of America’s most gifted and literate actors. Ethan Hawke is special, and I’m thankful that SHOWTIME and Blumhouse have shown faith and trust in one of America’s oddest, most profound, and greatest heroes.”
“Good Lord Bird is one of my favorite books, told with wit, grace and wisdom by the great James McBride,” said Hawke. “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.”
Hawke is a Tony and four-time Academy Award nominated actor and writer whose diverse career as a novelist, actor, director, and screenwriter spans more than three decades. He can currently be seen on Broadway in Sam Shepard’s True West opposite Paul Dano. He received critical praise for his performance in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed and was named Best Actor by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Gotham Awards, in addition to winning this year’s Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead. His previous film credits includeDead Poets Society, Gattaca, Training Day (Academy Award, SAG® nominations), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Boyhood (Academy Award, SAG®, Golden Globe, BAFTA nominations),Born to Be Blue, Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight), and Juliet, Naked. He also directed and co-wrote the music biopic Blaze which he produced with his wife Ryan for their Under the Influence banner.
James McBride won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction for The Good Lord Bird. His landmark memoir, The Color of Water, rested on theNew York Times bestseller list for two years. McBride adapted his debut novel, Miracle at St. Anna, for a film directed by Spike Lee, and later co-wrote the screenplay Red Hook Summer with Lee. His other books include Song Yet Sung, Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Souland the short-story collection Five-Carat Soul.
Mark Richard is an award-winning author and television producer. His first book, the short story collection The Ice at the Bottom of the World, won the 1990 Pen/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award. His memoir House of Prayer No. 2 details growing up in the American South as a ‘special child’ and how the racial tensions and religious fervor of his hometown animate his writing today. Richard is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Whiting Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Mary Francis Hobson Medal for Arts and Letters, and a National Magazine Award for Fiction. His television work includes Fear the Walking Dead, Man in the High Castle and Hell on Wheels, among others.
Writer-director Hughes and his brother Allen emerged as major talents with their 1993 debut Menace II Society and 1995 follow-up Dead Presidents. They later directed the 1999 documentary American Pimp; 2001's adaptation of Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper graphic novel From Hell, starring Johnny Depp; and 2010's post-apocalyptic Denzel Washington starrer The Book of Eli. Last summer, Hughes directed his first solo feature, Alpha.
THE GOOD LORD BIRD is executive produced by Ethan Hawke, James McBride, Mark Richard, Albert Hughes, Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman and Marshall Persinger.