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“Underground Railroad,” the new limited series from Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins, arrived on Amazon Prime on Friday. The 10-episodes series, written, directed and executive produced by Jenkins, chronicles the story of Cora Randall (Thuso Mbedu), an enslaved girl in a bid for her freedom after escaping a plantation in the Antebellum South.
The series, based on Colson Whitehead’s 2016 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, reimagines the Underground Railroad as an actual railroad with engineers, conductors, train tracks, and underground tunnels. Cora’s journey to freedom isn’t without complications. She’s being followed by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter obsessed with forcing her back to the Georgia plantation she escaped from. Ridgeway is fixated with capturing Cora in part because her mother was the only person he never caught. Along the way, Cora contends with following her mother’s legacy, and stepping into a life that she didn’t know was possible.
Amazon Prime members can stream “The Underground Railroad” for free on Prime Video. If you’re not a member, sign up today and enjoy your first week for only $1.99 (the monthly membership rises to $12.99 after that). Amazon offers an all-inclusive membership package which gives you access to a huge online store, free two-day shipping, and the massive Prime Video streaming library where you can watch exclusive programming, as well as tons of movies, and TV shows.
The ensemble cast of “The Underground Railroad” includes Chase W. Dillon, 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.
In April, Jenkins opened up about shooting the emotional series, which was briefly delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done, not because it was difficult to make physically, but just emotionally,” he said. “I’ve never cried on set, with anything I’ve made. On this one, at least once every two weeks somebody would be like ‘you alright man?’ I would have to walk… off the set for 10 or 15 minutes because I was just distraught. Our guidance counselor pulled me off set one day and would not let me continue to direct.”
“The Underground Railroad” was produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B imprint, along with Pastel, Big Indie, and Amazon Studios. Jenkins also serves as a showrunner on the series and co-executive producer alongside Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Richard Heus, Jacqueline Hoyone, Pitt, and Whitehead.