Home / News / Barry Jenkins lands Thuso Mbedu, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Pierre for ‘Underground Railroad’

Barry Jenkins lands Thuso Mbedu, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Pierre for ‘Underground Railroad’

(Left) Barry Jenkins, (top) Thuso Mbedu, Aaron Pierre, (bottom) Joel Edgerton, Chase W. Dillon

After a long search, Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) has found the lead for his 11-episode limited series The Underground Railroad, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead.

27-year old South African actress Thuso Mbedu will play the 15-year old fearless and rebellious slave Cora in the antebellum era South. While an unknown in the US, she is the star of one of South Africa’s most popular television series, the soap opera Generations: The Legacy, and also scored two International Emmy Award nominations for the teen drama series Is’thunzi, also in South Africa.

Aaron Pierre is probably best known for David S. Goyer’s SyFy series Krypton, which just wrapped on its second season. He was also in Jez Butterworth’s Amazon series Brittania and in the ITV limited series Prime Suspect 1973. He will be playing Caesar, who helps Cora escape.

Actor/writer/director Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased, Loving, The Gift) will also be heading to the series as a slavecatcher named Ridgeway who hunts for Cora. This was first reported by Variety.

Child star Chase W. Dillon has been cast as Homer, a young black boy who is part of Ridgeway’s gang. He can be seen in the upcoming BET series First Wives Club from Tracy Oliver. He also has been cast in the in the upcoming Little America at Apple.

The Underground Railroad is currently in pre-production, with location scouting taking place in Georgia. Principal photography is set to begin early this summer and expected to arrive in 2020. Jenkins will direct all 11 episodes and will executive produce with his PASTEL production company alongside Brad Pitt and Plan B, who also co-produced both Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk.

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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