Although Kanye West’s involvement with the upcoming Underground project has seemingly gone cold, WGN has left the developing slavery-era drama in G.O.O.D. hands annnouncing Johh Legend and his Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius, are now on board to executive produce the series.
“We are excited to join forces with WGN America and Sony and the talented team of writers and producers on this powerful project that we believe will inspire us all,” the Academy Award and Golden Globe®-winner said in a statement. “This series has a unique opportunity to speak to the passion and courage of those who risked it all as they raced to freedom. We are honored to bring our creative vision to this thrilling project.”
In addition to the executive producing duties, Get Lifted will also oversee the score, soundtrack and all musical aspects of the series.
“Underground depicts a raw and revolutionary chapter in the American story. We wanted an artist who could help us find the light through the darkness, and John Legend was a perfect fit,” said Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, Creators and Executive Producers of Underground. “We are beyond excited to be working with John, Mike and Ty at Get Lifted. They stand without peer at the intersection of music and television – we couldn’t think of better producing partners.”
More from the studio:
WGN America’s “Underground” stars Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Leverage,” “Turn”) as Noah, a restless slave who organizes a small team of fellow slaves on the Macon plantation to plan an escape; Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” “True Blood,” “The Great Debaters”) as Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage; Emmy-nominated actor Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”) as August Pullman, a secretive man who walks a tightrope between morality and survival; Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) as Cato, a cunning, charismatic man despised and feared by his fellow slaves; and Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) as Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares the abolitionist ideals of her husband, John (Marc Blucas, “Blue Bloods”), a lawyer whose principles clash with the legislation he’s sworn to uphold. The internationally renowned cast includes Adina Porter (“True Blood,” “The 100,” “The Newsroom”) as Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife and mother; Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”) as her husband Moses, a fiery preacher; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”) as Ernestine, head house slave and fiercely devoted mother; Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”) as Sam, Rosalee’s half-brother and a talented carpenter; Chris Chalk (“The Newsroom,” “Homeland,” “Gotham”) as William Still, an abolitionist ally; Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) as Tom Macon, a plantation owner and political candidate; and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), who joins his sister Smollett-Bell in the cast as Josey, a wild-eyed runaway who doesn’t trust anyone.
Underground is currently in production in Baton Rouge, LA, for a 2016 premiere on WGN America.