Each teaser for Barry Jenkins’ upcoming Amazon series The Underground Railroad has been more beautiful than the last. This latest one, arriving before the premiere next month, is just as gorgeous but offers more of a look at what it will actually be about. The story follows runaway slave Cora Randall as she makes a desperate bid for freedom, in hopes of finding the long-rumored Underground Railroad.
What’s different about the adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s book is the Underground Railroad is quite literal, with railways, conductors, and more connecting those in need of it to the freedom they seek.
Following his Oscar-winning Moonlight and acclaimed followup If Beale Street Could Talk, none of us should’ve expected Jenkins to have trouble gathering a starry cast. Even so, this is impressive even for him. Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter, and Peter Mullan star in the series which hits Amazon Prime on May 14th.
The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s (newcomer Thuso Mbedu) desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Over the course of her journey, Cora is pursued by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter who is fixated on bringing her back to the plantation she escaped; especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught. As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother that left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible.