'The Good Lord Bird': James McBride's Acclaimed Novel Becomes A Gripping Historical Drama Series

The combustible nature of that era in those areas and the country as a whole was effectively captured and dramatized in James McBride’s 2013 novel The Good Lord Bird , which won the National Book Award for Fiction.

Ethan Hawke, who is an executive producer the series with McBride, stars as famed abolitionist John Brown.

Brown was, of course, a real-life figure and is a major factor in this tale, but The Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of a fictional enslaved boy named Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson).

Onion becomes part of Brown’s motley crew of abolitionist soldiers in Bleeding Kansas, traveling with the band of freedom fighters across the country and eventually participating in the famous 1859 raid on the federal depot at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

The Good Lord Bird features Lodge 49 star Wyatt Russell in a recurring role as Brown’s nemesis, the future Confederate general Jeb Stuart, while familiar faces guest-starring in the series in more minor roles include David Morse, Steve Zahn, Orlando Jones and Ellar Coltrane, who received rave reviews costarring with Hawke in the 2014 drama Boyhood .

William Gray/ShowtimeProminent among the guest stars in this series is Tony winner Daveed Diggs — who originated the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in a different sort of historical re-creation, the hit musical Hamilton — who portrays Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became a legendary social reformer.

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