Everyone learns about The Underground Railroad in school as a network of secret routes and safe houses used to help enslaved African-Americans escape out of slavery into the free states of the North and Canada. But what if The Underground Railroad wasn’t merely a metaphor, but rather an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors riding on secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the southern soil, taking slaves on the first journey of their free life?
That’s what Moonlight director Barry Jenkins‘ series adaptation of The Underground Railroad, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, imagines. A new teaser introduces us to one of the story’s main characters: Cora Randall, played by Thuso Mbedu. In addition to being a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, Cora isn’t exactly welcome in the circles of other African-Americans either. Meet Cora in The Underground Railroad teaser below.
The Underground Railroad Teaser
Not unlike the first teaser released recently, there’s almost a dreamlike quality to the footage on display here. But the footage in this new teaser looks like it’s actually from the series rather than establishing a mood . Plus, we get to hear even more of that incredible score by composer Nicholas Britell.
Though the teaser introduces us to Cora Randall, it still doesn’t give us much of the story. For that, you can turn to the official description of the book:
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Though Barry Jenkins is telling a story rooted in the realities of slavery from from pre-Civil War times, this sort of alternate reality approach to The Underground Railroad adds a new wrinkle in these familiar but always harrowing stories. The result seems to be a true odyssey as we follow Cora’s path to freedom and all the trials and tribulations that come with it.
The Underground Railroad also stars Chase W. Dillon, Aaron Pierre and Joel Edgerton, with supporting performances from Damon Herriman, William Jackson Harper, Amber Gray, Jim Klock, Lily Rabe, Fred Hechinger, and Owen Harn. Barry Jenkins directs the limited series and executive produces through his Pastel Productions along with Brad Pitt and his Plan B Entertainment production banner. Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are also set as executive producers.
As of now The Underground Railroad doesn’t have an official release date, but it will be coming to Amazon Prime sometime in the near future, possibly before the end of the year.
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