As the resistance grows in contemporary America, Amazon is building an Underground Railroad that’s sure to gain a lot of attention. The company’s Amazon Studios is teaming with Moonlight director Barry Jenkins to adapt Colson Whitehead’s award-winning novel into a limited-run TV series.

The Underground Railroad, which won both this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction, follows two protagonists as they attempt to escape slavery on Georgia plantations in the 18th century. Unlike in the real world, Whitehead’s “Underground Railroad” isn’t just a metaphor, but an actual working system running under the American South.

In a statement accompanying the news of the new series, Jenkins—himself a multiple award-winner for last year’s Moonlight—called the book “a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way," adding, "preserving the sweep and grandeur of a story like this requires bold, innovative thinking and in Amazon we’ve found a partner whose reverence for storytelling and freeness of form is wholly in line with our vision.”

Amazon Studios’ head of Comedy, Drama and VR, Joe Lewis, said, “Colson Whitehead’s book is a sweeping, character driven, boundary destroying epic. Having Barry bring it to life for Amazon Studios is thrilling. We couldn’t be more excited to see what they create.”

As if the combination of Whitehead and Jenkins wasn’t enough, the show will be produced by Jenkins’ production company Pastel, and Plan B, the production company founded by Brad Pitt and responsible for Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave and The Big Short.


Read a Playboy Conversation with Colson Whitehead here.