Sterling K. Brown’s Hulu limited series Washington Black has found its lead. Ernest Kingsley Jr. will play the title role opposite Brown, per Deadline.
Based on Esi Edugyan’s novel, Washington Black is the story of “the extraordinary 19th-century adventures of George Washington “Wash” Black (Kingsley)–an 11-year-old boy on a Barbados sugar plantation who must flee after a shocking death threatens to upend his life.”
Brown is Medwin Harris, Wash’s mentor and “the de facto Mayor of Black Halifax,” for whom the community is more important than everything else. “Meeting Wash sends him down a challenging path of self-discovery. And as the barricades around his heart start to fall, Medwin will learn to dream again.”Wash is described as “young boy born to a Barbados sugar plantation who finds a way off the island in the company of his master’s brother, a Steam-Punk inventor who has built an extraordinary flying machine. So begins a globe-spanning, Jules Verne-style adventure that eventually leads Wash to Nova Scotia, where he discovers that while the world can be cruel, it’s also full of mystery and beauty and, in the form of young Tanna Goff, love.”
Iola Evans co-stars as Tanna Goff, “a young British woman of means ‘passing’ as white but secretly born of a Melanesian mother on the Solomon Islands. But her secret eventually spills out, causing Tanna and her father to flee London for Nova Scotia. Determined to protect their social standing, her father pushes her into an arranged marriage with a local white merchant, but Tanna falls in love with 19-year-old Washington Black, a brilliant artistic soul living in the fullness of his black identity. Loving Wash lets Tanna dare dream of a life without walls – free to walk in her true skin, free to pursue her passion of composing music. But how long can she walk with a foot in both worlds before those worlds smash together?”
The Root previously reported on Hulu ordering the nine episode series and why the project is so important to Brown.
“Washington Black inspires me! This young man and the adventure he undertakes remind me of how the power of imagination and the creativity of artistry can transform the world in which we live,” Brown said in a statement. “Selwyn Seyfu Hinds has taken the transcendent words of Esi Edugyan and created a spectacular universe that brings to fruition the power of possibility.”
Brown is executive producing alongside Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (Twilight Zone), who is also adapting the series.
“The world has felt like we’re living in darkest night, stumbling to find and hold onto a North Star to make a way forward. Like many of us, I’ve felt lost far too often. But writing Washington Black these past two years has guided me back home,” Hinds said. “This story of a young Black boy who becomes a globe-trotting artist, scientist and inventor. This tale of the true human superpowers: hope, love, empathy, persistence. Those ideas have been my North Star.”
There’s no premiere date for the fascinating story yet, but sometime in 2022 is a safe bet.
Before he heads into the world of Washington Black, Brown will wrap up his Emmy winning role of Randall Pearson on This is Us, which premieres its sixth and final season Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 9 pm on NBC.
We don’t know what the notoriously emotional show has in store for its farewell run, but we assume it will make us cry our eyes out while simultaneously yelling at Randall for being a jerk.