The Good Lord Bird — Showtime’s adaptation of James McBride’s National Book Award-winning historical novel written, produced by, and starring Ethan Hawke as legendary abolitionist John Brown — premieres Oct. 4, and TV Guide has an exclusive look at the new trailer for the highly anticipated limited series.
John Brown was a white man who fought against slavery in antebellum America — literally. Many abolitionists at the time were pacifists, but John Brown was not. He was willing to kill and die for the cause, and he did. He fought in the Bleeding Kansas battles over slavery in 1856, and led an attempted slave uprising in Virginia in 1859. He was hanged for treason after that, but his fight helped galvanize abolitionists and was an important step on the path toward the start of the Civil War the next year.
John Brown was also an extremely weird guy. “God whispered in my ear, ‘Start a war that will end slavery,'” Brown says in the trailer. Yes, he heard the voice of God. In the trailer, he also asks a bunny if it has a fire in its heart for justice, and he does a lot of maniacal screaming. Lots and lots of Bob Odenkirk-style screaming. Because the thing you might not expect about The Good Lord Bird, both the book and the limited series, is that it’s a comedy. There aren’t a lot of antebellum comedies, but this is one.
In addition to Hawke, the cast includes Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass, Wyatt Russell as First Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart, and Joshua Caleb Johnson as Onion, a boy who Brown inadvertently orphans then frees from slavery, but thinks is a girl, and from whose point of view the story is told.
The Good Lord Bird premieres Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9/8c on Showtime.