Sterling K. Brown-Led ‘Washington Black’ Lands Series Pickup at Hulu

Sterling K. Brown has lined up his next TV series.

Brown (This Is Us) will star in and executive produce a series based on Esi Edugyan’s best-selling novel Washington Black at Hulu, where it scored a series order. The Disney-run streamer has had the project in development for two years, and a deal to take it to series has been percolating for months.

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (Paramount+’s The Twilight Zone, Prince of Cats) is adapting the novel, which follows the adventures of George Washington “Wash” Black, an 11-year-old boy on a 19th century Barbados sugar plantation. After a shocking death threatens to upend his life, he flees the plantation and travels the world, finding adventure and a fraught love along the way.

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Brown will play 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.

“What Selwyn, Sterling and their inspired team of collaborators have crafted is a deeply romantic, globe-trotting adventure that is highly entertaining and unlike anything else on television,” said Jordan Helman, head of scripted content at Hulu. “It is a remarkable tale of hope, wonder and perseverance, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with such incredible storytellers to bring this series to the screen.”

Said Brown, “Washington Black inspires me. 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.”

Published in 2018, Washington Black became an international bestseller and was shortlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize and the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Disney’s 20th Television, where Brown’s Indian Meadows Productions is based, won the rights to the novel in early 2019.

“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. Like many of us, I’ve felt lost far too often. But writing Washington Black these past two years has guided me back home,” said Hinds. “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.”

Added 20th TV president Karey Burke, “Bringing Esi Edugyan’s prize-winning book to television has been a passion project for Selwyn and Sterling, and we are grateful to Hulu for their belief in this wildly ambitious and aspirational project. Our relationship with the amazing Sterling K. Brown dates all the way back to The People V. O.J. Simpson and of course This Is Us, so we couldn’t be happier to be continuing our collaboration with him as both a producer and a performer on this beautiful series.”

Hinds will executive produce with Brown (via his Indian Meadows banner). The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams and DJ Goldberg also exec produce, as do Anthony Hemingway and Jennifer Johnson. Author Edugyan is a co-producer.

Brown is currently filming the sixth and final season of This Is Us for 20th TV and NBC. He’s repped by JWS Entertainment, CAA, Jill Fritzo PR and Ziffren Brittenham.

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