Ethan Hawke To Star In & Co-Write Civil War-Era Slavery Drama Series For Showtime & Blumhouse

Like seemingly every other award-winning actor before him, Ethan Hawke is making the leap into the Peak TV era with his very own prestige drama series.

THR is reporting that Hawke will not only star in the upcoming Showtime limited series “Good Lord Bird,” but he’ll also be co-writing the series and executive producing. “Good Lord Bird” is based on the award-winning novel by James McBride, and tells the story of Civil War-era abolitionist John Brown and a slave nicknamed Onion. Hawke will portray Brown, who is crucial to the eventual raid on Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and the beginning of the deadly war.

Hawke will co-write the series with Mark Richard. The screenwriter has previously worked on series like “Hell on Wheels” and “Fear the Walking Dead.” “Good Lord Bird” will be produced by Blumhouse Television, who has most recently worked on “The Purge” series. Interestingly enough, Hawke previously worked with Blumhouse on the original ‘Purge’ film.

“’Good Lord Bird’ is one of my favorite books, told with wit, grace and wisdom by the great James McBride,” said Hawke. “Bringing this story to the screen has been a passion project of mine and I am incredibly fortunate to have partners who are equally enthusiastic and are making it a reality — my wife and producing partner Ryan Hawke, and my longtime friends at Blumhouse. I’m looking forward to working for the first time with the talented folks at Showtime and Anthony Hemingway — both of whom have made some of the best television in the last couple years.”

“This is just the right time for ‘The Good Lord Bird,’” said McBride. “I wrote it to show we Americans are family — dysfunctional, screwy, funny, even dangerous to one another at times, but still family nonetheless. Old John Brown always had a knack for landing into the right place at the right time. I’m delighted he’s landed in the lap of one of America’s most gifted and literate actors. Ethan Hawke is special, and I’m thankful that Showtime and Blumhouse have shown faith and trust in one of America’s oddest, most profound, and greatest heroes.”

The series will be directed by Anthony Hemingway, who is probably best known for his work on series like “The People v. OJ Simpson,” “Underground,” and recently on the aforementioned “The Purge” TV series.

“I’ve been blessed to tell great stories that make deliberate social impact by tackling topical issues facing the world, especially communities of color,” said the director. “With all that is going on culturally, socially and politically, the climate is ripe for material that is culturally relevant and provocative. Literature is truly transcendent and McBride blew our minds with ‘The Good Lord Bird.’ Saying yes was apparent for me and my producing partner, Lyah LeFlore-Ituen. We’re both excited to continue building relationships with Showtime, Blumhouse and our creative partners, including the masterful James McBride. Directorially, this will be filmmaking at its most artistic and I get to fulfill a bucket list experience — working with the incredible Ethan Hawke.”

No word yet on a release date for the series.