The e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.com has been expanding its grasp into film and television for the past few years with their own studio, “Amazon Studios”. Within the past year and a half the film studio has distributed and produced 18 films, most notably Manchester by the Sea. The company has also developed some critically-acclaimed television shows including Sneaky Pete, The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, among others.
Seemingly the most sought after director in Hollywood at the moment, of Moonlight fame, has decided to jump right back into filmmaking to adapt (writing and directing) Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction. The novel tells the story of two slaves who escape their Georgia plantations by route of the actual “Underground Railroad” in their pursuit for freedom.
Jenkins’ choice is a welcome one as he avoids becoming a “Hollywood” director and taking on some big-budget monstrosity that’s only made to see tickets, while also reaching out from his comfort zone (if I can even call it that) by taking on a massively popular book as well as massively studied era in American history. The challenge seems fitting.
If you’re looking to read the novel before watching the series, do not worry because you’ll likely have plenty of time. The series is being tapped for seven to eight episodes total, which turns out to be between 420-480 hours of film (based on the 60-minute episode structure). Being that it took Barry Jenkins eight years to finish a 110 minute project in Moonlight, you should have about 30 years to finish reading the novel before the series will be released.
Just kidding, it won’t take that long obviously. But, don’t expect it to arrive to your tablet until winter 2018 at the very earliest.
Check back for more updates about this one as they emerge.