An adaptation of James McBride‘s National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird is in development as a limited series from Blumhouse Television. Per Variety, Ethan Hawke is on board to star, and he will also co-write the script with Mark Richard (Fear The Walking Dead).
The novel follows a young slave who joins up with abolitionist leader John Brown, disguises himself as a girl to avoid being recognised, and eventually participates in the famous 1859 raid on the army depot at Harpers Ferry. That effort was intended by Brown to initiate a slave revolt. It failed in that aim, but it is widely believed to have helped to ignite the Civil War. Hawke will portray Brown.
The project reunites Hawke with producer Jason Blum after they worked together on 2013’s The Purge. This move comes just as Blumhouse is looking to make a push into TV. Right now the studio is best known for making lower-budget horror movies, but it’s aim is a little different when it comes to the small screen.
The studio has several prestige dramas with healthy budgets in development or practically done, including the adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s Sharp Objects, which will air on HBO, and Showtime’s upcoming version of Gabriel Sherman‘s The Loudest Voice In The Room.
McBride is an acclaimed author and journalist who has many best-sellers to his name, and has already had his novel Miracle At St. Anna adapted into a film by Spike Lee in 2008. Hawke’s involvement in this adaptation of The Good Lord Bird should come as no surprise, as the actor recently stated that it is one of his six favourite books. McBride is on board the series as an executive producer.
Blumhouse, and Hawke especially, often pick interesting projects, so having them together adapting an acclaimed novel is very intriguing. But let’s hope it goes a little better than their previous collaboration on The Purge.