Skip to main content

‘Moonlight’ director to write, direct Amazon series based on Underground Railroad

jenkins amazon moonlight barry
(ABC/Alexander Scott)
Moonlight received the top prize at this year’s Academy Awards, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture. And now, Barry Jenkins, director of the touching film, will be moving over to the streaming world to write and direct a drama series about the Underground Railroad, reports Variety.

The series explores the historical period by following the story of a young slave named Cora who escapes her plantation. She seeks out the Underground Railroad in a desperate quest for her freedom. But rather than coming across a metaphorical railroad, she discovers a real one. The show will be based on the best-selling book The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

“Colson’s writing has always defied convention,” comments Jenkins. “It’s groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the film to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.”

Jenkins struck gold with Moonlight, a dramatic film that chronicles a young African American boy’s struggles with homosexuality. He’s also known for the film Medicine for Melancholy, but aside from those two projects, his writing and directing resume is fairly slim. In the TV world specifically, he has directed one episode of the Netflix series Dead White People, and directed one episode of Futurestates on PBS, among earning a few other writing and directing credits, including a number of shorts.

That said, along with Jenkins’ own Pastel Productions behind him, executive producing the series will also be Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, which also produced Moonlight.

Moonlight’s win at the 2017 Academy Awards was an historic one, when the award was wrongfully given to La La Land until the mistake was discovered, and the award was then awkwardly handed off on stage. In addition to winning the night’s big award, Moonlight also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali won in the Best Supporting Actor category.

Jenkins lauded Amazon as a distribution partner for this new project, praising the streaming service’s “reference for storytelling and freeness of form” as being “wholly in line with our vision.”

Amazon, it’s worth noting, enjoyed its own share of praise at this year’s Academy Awards, taking home a trio of awards — one for its foreign language film The Salesman, and two for its original film Manchester by the Sea, including one for the Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor for Casey Affleck.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Persaud
Christine is a professional editor and writer with 18 years of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started…
The best new shows to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more
american born chinese review michelle yeoh and jim liu stand in a red forest

There's a long holiday weekend ahead of us, but you don't have to be bored! In addition to established hits like the Bridgerton spinoff Queen Charlotte, Disney+ and Netflix have both dropped the complete first seasons for American Born Chinese and Fubar, respectively, so you will have plenty of fantasy action and spy comedy episodes to tide you over until Tuesday. And if you just want some laughs, the newly rechristened Max has a revival of the adult animated series Clone High.

The beginning of June is only a few days away, and that means even more new and original series are coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, Apple TV+, Disney+, Paramount+, and Peacock. If you want to stay on top of the latest selections, keep checking back here for what's new and binge-worthy.
When you're done here, check out the best new movies to stream this week, as well as the best shows on Netflix, best shows on Hulu, best shows on Amazon Prime Video, and best shows on Disney+.

Read more
The best live-action Disney remakes, ranked
Young Simba and Mufasa in the Pride Lands | Lion King VFX

Disney is the king of recycling its own property, with remakes of everything from Beauty and the Beast to Lady and the Tramp. Disney live-action remakes have almost become a genre unto themselves, with each one of them varying in their respective effectiveness.

The newest Disney remake, The Little Mermaid, just hit theaters on Friday, bringing yet another installment to Disney's growing library of remakes. Director Rob Marshall's The Little Mermaid will make it the third live-action remake in the past two years, joining the ranks of Robert Zemeckis' poorly-reviewed Pinocchio and David Lowery's straight-to-streaming Peter Pan & Wendy. Whether you like it or not, Disney remakes are here to stay. Even Moana, which hit theaters in 2016, is already getting a live-action remake with star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson returning.

Read more
Best new movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Max (HBO), and more
The cast of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

Blockbuster movie season is heating up, with Fast X now in theaters and Across the Spider-Verse coming soon, but you don't have to wait for any big hits with massive budgets and larger-than-life stars. With your preferred streaming service, there are blockbusters available all the time, with new ones (and great smaller movies) arriving throughout the year.

We keep track of all of the new arrivals that are worth your time in this weekly update. These are the best new movies to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Max (HBO), and other streaming services.
We also have guides to the best movies on Netflix, the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on HBO.

Read more