MASHABLE – WGN America’s Underground wants to show you slavery as you’ve never seen it before.
The thrilling new historical drama about the Underground Railroad isn’t your typical period piece, the cast and creators said at New York Comic Con on Sunday.
“There are hard moments, but it’s not hard to watch because it’s such an adventure,” star Aldis Hodge told Mashable. “We get to laugh, we get to love, we get to play, we get to dance.”
Hodge plays Noah, a slave who’s tried to escape numerous times from his plantation. One day, he learns of the Underground Railroad — a new way to freedom.
“It’s the new hot thing happening ’round these parts,” Hodge joked.
Since the journey is too treacherous to make alone — hundreds of blistering miles through unforgivable terrain, being hunted by slave catchers night and day — Noah decides to recruit a group of slaves from his plantation. Rosalee, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, is one of those people.
Rosalee is a house slave, brainwashed into thinking that that’s her only place in life, Smollett-Bell explains. It’s not until she meets Noah that she starts thinking seriously about freedom. For the actress, the show was a chance to play an amazingly “complex” character, and dig deeper into a fascinating part of American history.
Slaves trying to find their way to freedom “would use the moss hanging on a tree, or the stars, or printings in the ground,” Smollett-Bell said. “It’s fascinating that they had that kind of knowledge of the earth.”Continue Reading
First look at Jessica as Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares the abolitionist ideals of her husband, John. ‘Underground’ will premiere in early 2016.
THE WRAP – WGN America released six character posters for its new Underground Railroad drama “Underground” on Sunday. The series follows follows a group of plantation slaves who band together for the fight of their lives and their freedom as they make the perilous journey from the deep South to the North. The series stars Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Amriah Vann, and Alano Miller. In addition, Smollett-Bell’s brother, “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, will appear on the series as a runaway slave.
The series will also feature Marc Blucas, Adina Porter, Mykelti Williamson, Johnny Ray Gill, and Chris Chalk and many more. Misha Green wrote and created the series along with Joe Pokaski. The pair also serve as executive producers alongside Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures; and Academy Award-winning songwriter John Legend, along with Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and serves as executive producer for the first four episodes. Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios are producing.
THE WRAP – WGN America will offer a first-look screening of their upcoming drama “Underground” at New York Comic-Con, the network announced on Monday. The show takes place in the antebellum South, where slaves on a plantation risk everything for a chance at freedom in the North by escaping on the Underground Railroad. The show also examines the lives of slaveholders, slave hunters, and abolitionists. The panel and audience Q&A will feature the “Underground” stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood” “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”) and Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), along with the creators, on Sunday, October 11 at 2:45 p.m. in Room 1A06 at the Javitz Center in New York.
“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, who serve as executive producers alongside Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”) of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell (“King Arthur,” “Holy Rollers”) and Joby Harold (“King Arthur,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) of Safehouse Pictures; and John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted. Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is slated premiere in 2016 on WGN America.
It is not confirmed that Jessica will be back as The Huntress on ‘Arrow’ next season but there’s still a good possibility:
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Are the Birds of Prey assembling?
In the comics, the Birds of Prey are an all-female team comprised of superheroes and villains. The lineup has changed over the years, but Arrow characters Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), Katana (Rila Fukushima), and Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) have all been Birds of Prey in the comics.
Guggenheim remained tightlipped on the possibility of introducing the Birds of Prey, bit did confirm his desire to bring back the Huntress for season four. “We have a great Huntress story,” he said. “We just have to find the right time for it, and it would be a shame if we couldn’t get her back this year.”
Amell told THR that in season four, Oliver will run into an old friend in Coast City. Could this be a reference to season one’s Detective McKenna Hall (Janina Gavankar) who was relocated to Coast City after mob boss daughter Helena Bertinelli (AKA the Huntress) — temporarily paralyzed her? That could be a way to bring the Huntress back into the fold.
ZAP2IT – The cast and creators of WGN America’s highly anticipated, pulse-pounding original series “Underground” will unveil a first-look trailer and participate in a panel session at the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans. Series’ stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” “True Blood,” “The Great Debaters”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Leverage,” “Turn”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) and Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) will join creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes,” “CSI”) on the Center Stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Friday, July 3 from 12:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. in a not-to-be-missed “Underground” experience for Essence Festival attendees.
In WGN America’s “Underground,” bravery, ingenuity and power take center stage as slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future…and their freedom. Hailing from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is currently in production on a straight-to-series order in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a 2016 premiere on WGN America.
The “Underground” stars and creators’ appearance at the Essence Festival comes on the heels of WGN America’s recent announcement that breakout star and Smollett-Bell’s brother, Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), has signed on to guest star in the series, marking the first time in 20 years the siblings will be seen together on the small screen.Continue Reading