John Legend, together with his Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius, are on board to executive-produce WGN America’s “Underground.” Additionally, Get Lifted will oversee the score, soundtrack and all music aspects of the series. The announcement was made today by Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios, during the Television Critics Association press tour.
In the original series “Underground,” bravery, ingenuity and power take center stage as plantation slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future… and most importantly, their freedom.
Hailing from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is currently in production in Baton Rouge, LA, for a 2016 premiere on WGN America.
“We are excited to join forces with WGN America and Sony and the talented team of writers and producers on this powerful project that we believe will inspire us all,” said Legend. “This series has a unique opportunity to speak to the passion and courage of those who risked it all as they raced to freedom. We are honored to bring our creative vision to this thrilling project.”
“‘Underground’ depicts a raw and revolutionary chapter in the American story. We wanted an artist who could help us find the light through the darkness, and John Legend was a perfect fit,” said Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, Creators and Executive Producers of “Underground.” “We are beyond excited to be working with John, Mike and Ty at Get Lifted. They stand without peer at the intersection of music and television – we couldn’t think of better producing partners.”
If you attended the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans earlier this month, you may have already seen the first trailer for “Underground,” because the cast and creators were present to unveil a first-look trailer, as well as participate in a panel discussion about the show.
I’ve been anticipating that the trailer would make its way online soon, but nothing yet. All I have to share is the above first-look image from the series.
The official synopsis reads: In 1857, a courageous 25-year-old slave named Noah organizes a small group of fellow slaves on Macon Plantation, with the goal of escaping to the Underground Railroad and thence to freedom. The odds of success are slim; the plantation’s terrain is unforgiving, and their politically ambitious owner, Tom Macon, will surely kill anyone attempting to run. For those who make it off the plantation, the risks and uncertainties only multiply. Pursued by professional slave hunters, they will have to decide which way to turn and whether or not they can trust the strangers who offer them help.
Playing Noah is Aldis Hodge, who is described as a brave, driven and insanely clever field slave. And on the other side of the fight is Reed Diamond, who plays Tom Macon, the plantation owner and political candidate.
Joining both gentlemen are: Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage; Christopher Meloni is August Pullman, a mysterious figure who walks a tightrope between morality and survival; Jessica de Gouw is Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares her husband’s abolitionist ideals; Alano Miller plays Cato, a cunning, charismatic man despised and feared by his fellow slaves; Adina Porter plays Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife and mother; Amirah Vann is Ernestine, a fiercely devoted mother and head house slave; Marc Blucas is John Hawkes, a lawyer whose ideals clash with the legislation he’s sworn to uphold; Mykelti Williamson plays Moses, a fiery preacher;; and finally Johnny Ray Gil as Sam, Rosalee’s brother and a talented carpenter.