Variety has learned that the cast will be led by Thuso Mbedu as Cora, with Chase W. Dillon as Homer, and Aaron Pierre as Caesar. The project was first set up more than two years ago on the heels of Jenkins’ Oscar wins for the film “Moonlight,” with Amazon officially ordering it to series last June.
Mbedu is an established star in her native South Africa. She is known for roles in shows such as “Is’thunzi,” “Liberty,” and “Shuga.” In both 2018 and 2019 she received an International Emmy Award nomination for her role in “Is’thunzi.” Also in 2018, Mbedu was featured on the cover of Forbes Africa’s annual “Under 30” issue highlighting young African stars and leaders. She is repped by ICM and Creative Partners Group.
Dillon currently has a recurring role in the upcoming BET series “First Wives Club” from Tracy Oliver. He also has been cast in the role of Young Igwe in “Little America” at Apple. He is repped by CESD, GEM Entertainment Group, and Jago & Associates
Pierre is a graduate of the prestigious LAMDA in London. He just wrapped on the second season of David S. Goyer’s SyFy series “Krypton” and was last seen in Jez Butterworth’s Amazon series “Brittania” and in the ITV miniseries “Prime Suspect 1973.” He is repped by Hamilton Hodell in the UK and Anonymous Content in the US.
“The Underground Railroad” chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her 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.
Jenkins will direct all 11 episodes of the one-hour series in what will be his first attempt at directing a TV series in its entirety. Jenkins’ Pastel Productions will executive produce along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. Pitt and Plan B also produced “Moonlight.”
(Pictured: Chase W. Dillon, left; Thuso Mbedu, center; Aaron Pierre, right)