Ethan Hawke will re-team with Blumhouse for The Good Lord Bird, a limited TV series about famed abolitionist John Brown. The news comes as Blumhouse has been making a major push to expand their brand into television. Recently, the company entered into a deal with NBC to produce the horror series Cul-de-Sac as part of a possible plan to launch a Blumhouse Presents franchise on the network.
Blumhouse's other TV projects include an adaptation of their horror series The Purge, as well as the prestige miniseries Sharp Objects, set to air on HBO with Amy Adams in the lead. Of course, the production house also continues to be a major player in low-budget horror, the form they mastered in recent years. Their upcoming slate of films includes the prequel The First Purge, the sequel Unfriended: Dark Web and the reboot Halloween (2018).
As reported by Variety, Blumhouse will continue expanding beyond the realm of cheap-and-dirty - and very profitable - horror films with a new TV venture featuring Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke. The company and producer Jason Blum will team with Hawke for The Good Lord Bird, a limited series adaptation of the 2013 book by James McBride. Hawke will also executive produce and co-write the script together with Fear the Walking Dead writer Mark Richard. The actor previously worked with Blumhouse on the original The Purge as well as the first Sinister.
Set before the Civil War and based on true events, The Good Lord Bird centers on a slave who joins up with famed abolitionist John Brown, eventually participating in the 1859 Harper's Ferry raid. In the raid, Brown and 22 men stormed the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia in an attempt to set off a slave revolt. The effort failed and Brown was ultimately captured and later executed. Hawke is set to play Brown, the anti-slavery advocate whose actions at Harper's Ferry likely accelerated the coming of the Civil War.
The Good Lord Bird represents something of a passion project for Hawke, as the actor has listed McBride's novel as one of his six favorite books. The project also marks the first time Hawke has taken on a lead role in a television series. There had previously been reports of Hawke reprising his Training Day role in a TV series based on the 2001 film but that fell through. The actor is currently receiving rave reviews for his performance in Paul Schrader's drama First Reformed. His upcoming slate includes a performance as famed lawman Pat Garrett in The Kid, co-starring Chris Pratt and directed by Vincent D'Onofrio. He's also set to star alongside Rose Byrne in Juliet, Naked, an adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel.