Ethan Hawke to Produce, Star in ‘Good Lord Bird’ for Showtime

Showtime has ordered the limited series Good Lord Bird, based on the novel The Good Lord Bird by James McBride. Blumhouse Television is producing and Ethan Hawke stars and executive produces. Anthony Hemingway directs and exec produces.

Hawke will play abolitionist John Brown. The series is told from the point of view of Onion, an enslaved teen who becomes a member in Brown’s motley family “during the time of Bleeding Kansas, eventually participating in the famous 1859 raid on the Army depot at Harpers Ferry,” said Showtime.

“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.”

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Hawke has made his name as an actor, author and director. “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.”

Hemingway’s work includes The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Underground, and Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.

McBride’s books include the memoir The Color of Water and the novel Miracle at St. Anna.

Besides McBride, Hawke and Hemingway, executive producers of Good Lord Bird include Mark Richard, Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold and Marci Wiseman.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.