THE GOOD LORD BIRD
THE GOOD LORD BIRD is a new limited series starring Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown premiering on SHOWTIME®. Based on the National Book Award-winning novel by bestselling author James McBride, the series is produced by award-winning Blumhouse Television, the studio behind the Golden Globe® award-winning and Critics Choice, Writers Guild® and Screen Actors Guild® nominated series The Loudest Voice.
THE GOOD LORD BIRD is told from the point of view of “Onion” (Joshua Caleb Johnson), a fictional enslaved boy who becomes a member of Brown’s motley family of abolitionist soldiers during Bleeding Kansas – a time when the state was a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces – and eventually finds himself participating in the famous 1859 raid on the Army depot at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was the instigating event that started the Civil War.
THE GOOD LORD BIRD weaves a humorous, dramatic, and historical tapestry of Antebellum America, spotlighting the complicated and ever-changing racial, religious, and gender roles that make up the American identity.
The series also stars Critics Choice winner and Screen Actors Guild® award nominee Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Nick Eversman (Wild), Beau Knapp (Seven Seconds), Mo Brings Plenty (Yellowstone), Jack Alcott (Champagne ILL), and Hubert Point-du Jour (Madame Secretary). The series also features a roster of talented guest stars including Tony® Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) as the legendary historical character abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Emmy® nominee David Morse (Escape At Dannemora) as Dutch Henry Sherman, Steven J. Zahn (War of the Planet of the Apes) as Chase, Maya Hawke (Stranger Things) as Annie Brown, Wyatt Russell (Lodge 49) as federal officer Jeb Stuart, Orlando Jones (American Gods) as The Rail Man, among others.
THE GOOD LORD BIRD is executive produced by Ethan Hawke, Ryan Hawke, Jason Blum, Mark Richard, James McBride, Brian Taylor, Albert Hughes, Marshall Persinger, David Schiff, Padraic McKinley, Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold.
ETHAN HAWKE John Brown
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” is a phrase a young ETHAN HAWKE took to heart while filming Dead Poets Society, the Academy Award winning drama that launched his career as an actor. Thirty years and several Tony® and Oscar® nominations later, he has emerged a multifaceted artist, challenging himself as a novelist, screenwriter and director.
Hawke starred in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, for which he won the Gotham Award, Independent Spirit Award and over 20 film critics’ awards including the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor. The film garnered Hawke some of the best reviews of his career as an actor, calling his performance “masterful” and “superb.”
Hawke will next be seen in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth alongside Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve and as Nikola Tesla in Tesla from writer-director Michael Almereyda.
He co-wrote, produced and directed Blaze, produced by Hawke and his wife Ryan for their Under The Influence banner. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
Hawke has collaborated with filmmaker Richard Linklater on multiple occasions, including Fast Food Nation; Waking Life; The Newton Boys and Tape. For his performance in Boyhood, Hawke received Academy Award, Screen Actors Guild Award®, Golden Globe®, BAFTA, Film Independent Spirit Award, Critics’ Choice Film Award and Gotham Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
Hawke starred opposite Julie Delpy in the Linklater’s critically-acclaimed Before Sunrise and its two sequels Before Sunset and Before Midnight. The trio co-wrote the screenplays for Before Sunset and Before Midnight and received Academy Award and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations for both scripts. They were honored with the Louis XIII Genius Award for achievement in cinematic works for the Before films at the BFCA Critics’ Choice Awards.
Hawke has starred in over sixty films, including Ben Stiller's Reality Bites; Maudie; Born to Be Blue; Juliet, Naked; Maggie’s Plan; The Magnificent Seven; The Phenom; Good Kill; Predestination; The Purge; Explorers; White Fang; Gattaca; Great Expectations; Hamlet; What Doesn’t Kill You; Brooklyn’s Finest; Sinister and Before The Devil Knows You're Dead. Hawke received Academy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award Supporting Actor nominations for his work in Antoine Fuqua's Training Day, opposite Denzel Washington.
Hawke made his directorial debut with 2001’s Chelsea Walls, directed Josh Hamilton in the short film Straight to One and directed the documentary Seymour: An Introduction.
Hawke's graphic novel, Indeh, with illustrator Greg Ruth, debuted at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Graphic Novels. In 2015, Hawke released his first children’s book Rules for a Knight, a New York Times’ bestseller featuring illustrations by his wife, Ryan Hawke. In 2009, he wrote a celebrated profile of icon Kris Kristofferson for Rolling Stone. In 2002, his second novel, Ash Wednesday, was chosen for Bloomsbury's contemporary classics series. In 1996, Hawke wrote his first novel, The Hottest State, which he also adapted for the screen and directed. He also directed a music video for the film, featuring Lisa Loeb.
At the age of twenty-one, Hawke founded the Malaparte Theatre Co. In 1992, Hawke made his Broadway debut in The Seagull. He has appeared in Henry IV alongside Richard Easton on Broadway; Buried Child (Steppenwolf Theater); Hurlyburly, for which he earned a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor and a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance (The New Group); Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia, for which he was honored with a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play and Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance (Lincoln Center); the inaugural season of The Bridge Project’s double billings of The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale, which garnered Hawke a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Old Vic); and Blood From a Stone (The New Group) which earned him a 2011 Obie Award for Performance. In 2007, Hawke made his Off-Broadway directing debut with the world premiere of Jonathan Marc Sherman's Things We Want. In 2010, Hawke directed Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, for which he received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play as well as recognition in The New York Times’ and The New Yorker’s top ten lists of the leading theatre productions in 2010. In 2012, he starred in Chekov’s Ivanov for the Classic Stage Company. In 2013, he directed and starred in Clive, a stage adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Baal, by Jonathan Marc Sherman (The New Group) and completed a successful run of Lincoln Center Theater's production of Macbeth in the title role. Most recently, Hawke starred on Broadway in the highly-acclaimed 2019 revival of Sam Shephard’s Tony and Pulitzer Prize nominated play True West for the Roundabout Theatre Company opposite Paul Dano, for which Hawke received a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance.
JOSHUA CALEB JOHNSON Henry “Onion” Shackleford
JOSHUA CALEB JOHNSON is currently recurring on Black-ish. He starred in the independent feature It’s Just a Gun (awarded the Narrative Silver Medal at the 43rd Student Academy Awards). Johnson Joshua co-starred in the feature Ray Meets Helen opposite Keith David, Keith Carradine and Sondra Locke, and recurred on the series Animal Kingdom. He was the face of Madden NFL 18, playing the young Devin Wade opposite JR Lemon and Mahershala Ali. Johnson also starred in the sci-fi short The Night They Came by director Avan Hardwell.
Johnson starred opposite Pharrell Williams in the project I Am Other (sponsored by YOOBIE), a project that helps underprivileged youth believe that they can overcome all obstacles in life as long as you “believe in yourself.” He has booked national commercials such as: Toyota, Honda, Enterprise and Gardasil, and has done three worldwide campaigns for Nike, Under Armor and Gardasil. He was seen in all the Nickelodeon advertisements for the 2017 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards. In addition, Johnson is an excellent singer and dancer.
Johnson is a star athlete. He plays football for the Valley Seahawks, winners of the 2017 Pop Warner Super Bowl and has been named MVP for five years consecutively. He is also the starting point guard for his middle school basketball team. Johnson enjoys boxing, martial arts, running track and swimming.
JAMES MCBRIDE Executive Producer
James McBride is an accomplished musician and author whose books have been translated into 19 languages and sold millions of copies around the world. He is the author of the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling The Good Lord Bird; the bestselling American classic The Color of Water; and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, which was adapted into a film by Spike Lee with a screenplay written by McBride. He is also the author of Kill 'Em and Leave, a biography of James Brown. His new novel DEACON KING KONG will be released by Riverhead Books in March 2020. Awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama “for humanizing the complexities of discussing race in America,” McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.