Underground Variety Studio
Underground Variety Studio

John Legend on the 'Huge Honor' of Playing Frederick Douglass in 'Underground'

You’ll be seeing two big historical figures in Season 2 of “Underground”: Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. And John Legend will be stepping into the shoes of the latter.

The “Underground” executive producer talked about the role with executive producer/creator Misha Green, director/executive producer Anthony Hemingway, and stars Aldis Hodge and Jurnee Smollett-Bell at the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher at the Sundance Film Festival.

“I looked at it as an honor, to be able to do that, to represent someone that I had been reading about since I was a little kid,” he said. “It’s humbling to take on that role, but I felt like it was a huge honor and I wanted to do what I could to help the show.”

He also talked about why the show, despite chronicling what happened decades ago, is still so relevant today.

“History is context, is what I always say,” he said. “You can’t think about what’s happening now without understanding the history. The history of racism in America, the history of excluding certain immigrant groups, the history of subjugating women. Unless you understand what was happening before, you don’t understand why we’re talking about it now.”

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