John Legend To Play Abolitionist Frederick Douglass On 'Underground'


Academy Award and Golden Globe winner and ten-time Grammy Award® winning singer-songwriter John Legend will guest star in the highly anticipated second season of “Underground,” created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, it was announced today by WGN America.

Legend, who also serves as executive producer on the gripping series, will portray iconic abolitionist, orator and author Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery, Douglass refused to let his circumstance determine his future. After he daringly escaped bondage in Maryland, he went on to become one of the most revolutionary leaders of the nineteenth century. A prominent writer, celebrated speaker and progressive political reformist, Douglass was a beacon of hope for many and a symbol of remarkable resilience.  Season two of the riveting original drama from Sony Pictures Television is currently in production in Savannah, Georgia and will debut early 2017 on WGN America.

Frederick Douglass is among a growing list of historical figures featured in the Underground Railroad thriller.  The cable network recently announced that Aisha Hinds (“Under the Dome,” “True Blood,” Star Trek Into Darkness) is stepping into a recurring guest star role as Harriet Tubman; and “Underground” also includes renowned African American abolitionist William Still (Chris Chalk) and notorious slave trader Patty Cannon (Sadie Stratton). The new, 10-episode season follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice.

Legend, an activist whose multi-platinum selling music has inspired fans across the globe, also stars in and executive produces the upcoming feature film La La Land, and he recently executive produced the feature, Southside with You.  Legend joins a celebrated ensemble cast for season two of “Underground” including: Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Rosalee; Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) as Noah; Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as August Pullman; Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) as Cato; ‎Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) as Elizabeth Hawkes; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) as Ernestine; Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”) as John Hawkes; Jasika Nicole (“Fringe,” “Scandal”) as Georgia; Michael Trotter (“Rosewood”) as Biographer; Jesse Luken (“Justified,” 42) as Smoke; DeWanda Wise (“Shots Fired,” How to Tell You’re a Douchebag) as Clara; and Sadie Stratton (“Code Black,” “Boy Meets World”) as Patty Cannon.

“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "Daredevil"), who serve as Executive Producers alongside Emmy®-nominated director Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”); 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; John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co; and Mark Taylor (“MadTV”).

“Underground,” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America's most-watched original program ever in its freshman season.  The series was recently nominated for a TCA Award for Outstanding New Program by the Television Critics Association and was honored with three CableFax Awards, including Best New Program, Best Historical Show/Series and Best Showrunners, Misha Green and Joe Pokaski.

SOURCE: WGN America