Twentieth Television, in conjunction with Sterling K. Brown’s Indian Meadows Productions, Anthony Hemingway Productions and The Gotham Group, has won an intense bidding war for the rights to bring Esi Edugyan’s award-winning novel “Washington Black” to the small screen, Variety has learned exclusively.
The novel will be adapted for into a limited series for TV by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, with Edugyan on board as an executive producer.
“Washington Black” tells the story of George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, who is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. However, to Wash’s surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist.
Soon, Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning–and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic.
Emmy and Golden Globe winner Anthony Hemingway will direct and executive produce through his production entity Anthony Hemingway Productions, with production exec Lyah LeFlore shepherding the project. Two-time Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown is also producing with The Gotham Group through his Indian Meadows Productions. Danielle Reardon will be in charge from the Indian Meadows Productions end, and this will be the first limited series for the newly formed production outfit.
Esi Edugyan is represented by literary agent Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group. The rights deal was brokered by Rich Green at the Gotham Group on behalf of Ellen Levine and Trident.
Anthony Hemingway is repped by WME and Sterling K. Brown is repped by Innovative Artists and JWS Entertainment. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds is represented by Paradigm and The Gotham Group, which is itself repped by WME.