Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins Developing Drama Series Based On The Undergound Railroad For Amazon

By Eva Artosilla | 2 years ago
Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins Developing Drama Series Based On The Undergound Railroad For Amazon
PHOTOGRAPH: Amazon/The Undergound Railroad |

Following the mishap that left his film with the Academy Award for Best Picture, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ upcoming project is already receiving much attention. Being the fourth black director to be nominated for an Oscar, everyone is curious how he will work his magic once again.

Partnering with Amazon Studios, his new project, The Underground Railroad will not be a film but a one-hour series. This next project will be another passionate drama and one that coincides with his African-American heritage.

Despite financial constraints for his successful film, Jenkins pulled through beating La La Land in what was an awkward Steve Harvey-ish awarding. Despite the mix-up, the people behind Moonlight and especially its director were thankful nonetheless.

After all, this has propelled him to the limelight and has opened up new opportunities for him and his future works. And speaking of future works, his newest project is already creating buzz.

The Underground Railroad Is A Story Of An Amazing Escape

The Amazon-intended series tells the story of Cora a young slave who makes her escape through the Underground Railroads, a secret system of rails that aided runaway slaves. However, she later discovers that what she thought was a crudely built system to be an actual railroad complete with engineers and conductors running beneath the Confederate States.

Based on an award-winning novel of the same name, author Colson Whitehead seamlessly ties historical facts with magical realism. It also sheds light on the underground railroads, an institution that was pivotal in the slaves’ fight for freedom.

The railroad took slaves who ran away from their masters to states up north. There they began new lives as free citizens and some even joined abolitionist movements to secure the freedom of their fellow slaves.

The Underground Railroad is Whitehead’s sixth published novel. Following its release, it has received National Book Award for Fiction in 2016 and was selected for Oprah’s book club. Early this year, the novel was also awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

The Oscar-nominated director expressed his admiration for Whitehead’s work. “Going back to ‘The Intuitionist,’ Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and ‘The Underground Railroad’ is no different. It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way,” he said.

Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins’ Project Currently In The Planning Stage

So far, the project is still on the drawing board. Casting choices and release dates are still nonexistent at the moment. One thing is for certain, with his capability and the backing of a company such as Amazon, budget constraints are nothing but a distant memory for Jenkins.

But with a film such as Moonlight under his belt, expectations are also through the roof for the project. Will The Underground Railroad be a good enough follow-up to his previous work? Considering its award-winning source, our answer is yes.

Being a series, obviously, it will not be eligible for the Oscars. But that’s not the only prestigious awards show that Jenkins can make a name for himself. It will not be surprising if the drama will rake in the awards in the upcoming Emmys.

This could also be big for Amazon’s fledgling production studio and video streaming service. With big competitors, Netflix and Hulu, projects such as The Underground Railroad could bring them a good competition.

Still, the hype from the winning Best Picture continues to wane with each passing day. If Moonlight director Barry Jenkins takes advantage of this opportunity, he must replicate the magic of the coming-of-age film. Without the hindrances in his previous films, his upcoming projects will be worthy of our attention.

Posted by Moonlight on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Also Read: Moonlight: The Oscars Best Film Has Proven So Much More

Photo Source: Facebook/Moonlight

About the author

Eva Artosilla joined MNG in 2016. She is an Accountant by profession and has alreay invaded the corporate world. She finds writing as a rewarding job.