Variety exclusively reported that the project had received a script commitment with penalty attached at Hulu in September 2019.
Based on the Esi Edugyan novel of the same name, the nine-episode series follows the 19th-century adventures of George Washington “Wash” Black – an 11-year-old boy on a Barbados sugar plantation who must flee after a shocking death threatens to upend his life. Brown will play the gregarious, larger-than-life Medwin Harris, who traveled the world after a traumatic childhood as a Black refugee in Nova Scotia as the de facto Mayor of Black Halifax prioritizes the community over everything except Washington Black, his young protégé. Meeting Wash sends him down a challenging path of self-discovery.
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds will write the adaptation and serve as executive producer. Brown executive produces under his Indian Meadows Productions banner. The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams and DJ Goldberg also executive produce along with Anthony Hemingway and Jennifer Johnson. Edugyan will be a co-producer on the series. 20th Television will produce, with Brown currently under an overall deal at the studio.
“Washington Black inspires me!” said Brown. “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. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds has taken the transcendent words of Esi Edugyan and created a spectacular universe that brings to fruition the power of possibility.”
“Washington Black” is the first television series for Indian Meadows and the first TV starring role Brown has lined up since it was announced that “This Is Us” is coming to an end with its sixth season. Brown has starred on the hit NBC family drama since it launched in 2016. He has received five Emmy nominations for best actor in a drama series for his time on the show, winning the award in 2017. He won a Golden Globe for the series in 2018.
Brown is repped by JWS Entertainment, CAA, Jill Fritzo PR and Ziffren Brittenham. Hinds is repped by CAA, The Gotham Group and Del Shaw Moonves.
“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,” Hinds said. “Like many of us, I’ve felt lost far too often. But writing ‘Washington Black’ these past two years has guided me back home. 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. The promise that we will get through the long night and take flight like Wash under the light of the sun. This show has been a conduit to that faith for those of us who’ve been creating it, and we’re beyond thrilled to be about the business of sharing it with all of you.”