Showtime dropped the trailer for its limited series adaptation of James McBride’s “The Good Lord Bird” Tuesday, offering up a first look at Ethan Hawke playing “controversial abolitionist” John Brown. And let’s just say Hawke’s portrayal of the historical figure is, uh, eccentric.
Based on McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel of the same name, “The Good Lord Bird” is told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson), “a fictional enslaved boy who becomes a member of Brown’s motley family of abolitionist soldiers during Bleeding Kansas – a time when the state was a battleground between pro- and anti-slavery forces – and eventually finds himself participating in the famous 1859 raid on the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was the event that started the Civil War.”
In the trailer, which you can view above, you’ll see that Onion thinks his leader is “nuttier than a squirrel turd” and Daveed Diggs’ Fredrick Douglass agrees.
According to Showtime, the seven-part limited series, which premieres Sunday, Aug. 9 at 10 p.m., “weaves a humorous, dramatic and historical tapestry of Antebellum America, spotlighting the complicated and ever-changing racial, religious and gender roles that make up the American identity.”
Along with Hawke and Johnson, “The Good Lord Bird” also stars Ellar Coltrane, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Beau Knapp, Nick Eversman, Jack Alcott and Mo Brings Plenty. Guest stars include Diggs as Douglass, David Morse as Dutch Henry Sherman, Steve Zahn as Chase, Maya Hawke as Annie Brown, Wyatt Russell as federal officer Jeb Stuart and Orlando Jones as The Rail Man.
“The Good Lord Bird” is executive produced by Jason Blum, Ethan, Ryan Hawke, Mark Richard, Padraic McKinley, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Albert Hughes, James McBride, Brian Taylor, Marshall Persinger and David Schiff. The series hails from Blumhouse Television.