Fresh from writing and directing the Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins has found his next project: an adaptation of Colson Whitehead‘s novel “The Underground Railroad,” which won the National Book Award for Fiction last year. This acclaimed historical novel tells the story of two slaves, Cora and Caesar, who escape from captivity on a Georgia plantation. Hoping to make their way north to freedom, the pair hitch a ride on the Underground Railroad. In Whitehead’s imaginings, this escape route is an actual subway line.
In making the announcement, Amazon Studios Head of Comedy, Drama and VR Joe Lewis, said, “Colson Whitehead’s book is a sweeping, character driven, boundary destroying epic. Having Barry bring it to life for Amazon Studios is thrilling. We couldn’t be more excited to see what they create.” Besides adapting the novel and helming, Jenkins is also an executive producer alongside Brad Pitt‘s Plan B.
Jenkins won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Moonlight,” which he shared with Tarell Alvin McCraney who’d written the play that was the source material for this intense character study. Both men had grown up Liberty City, the low-income Miami neighborhood at the center of the action in “Moonlight,” but had not known each other then. Jenkins, a year older at 37, was the first to find success in the arts.