Sharon Duncan-Brewster, newcomer Eddie Karanja, and Edward Bluemel join the cast of Hulu’s upcoming drama series Washington Black. They join as series regulars opposite Sterling K. Brown, Iola Evans and Ernest Kingsley Jr.
The nine-episode limited series is based on Esi Edugyan’s novel of the same name.
Set in the 19th century and follows George Washington “Wash” Black (Kingsley Jr.) as he flees from a Barbados sugar plantation after a shocking death threatens to upend his life. He becomes the protégé of Medwin Harris (Brown), a Black refugee from Nova Scotia who serves as the de facto major of Black Halifax.
While trying to outrun his past and the hunters on his tail, he meets Tanna Goff (Evans), a young wealthy British woman who passed as white but was secretly born of a Melanesian mother on the Solomon Islands, forcing her and her father to flee London for Nova Scotia. Tanna’s father pushes her into an arranged marriage with William “Billy” McGee (Bluemel), a white merchant to protect her, but she falls in love with Wash and begins to wonder what her life could be like with him.
Karanja will play the ‘Young Wash.’ He is described as a young boy born to a Barbados sugar plantation who finds a way off the island in the company of his master’s brother, a Steam-Punk inventor who has built an extraordinary flying machine. So begins a globe-spanning, Jules Verne-style adventure that eventually leads Wash to Nova Scotia, where he discovers that while the world can be cruel, it’s also full of mystery.
Duncan-Brewster, will play Miss Angie, “a woman from Trinidad who has traveled to Nova Scotia to find the freedom to build something of her own. And she has—the store that bears her name, a community institution, and her own agency as the backbone of her community. But the question is whether she can make that power work within herself and re-build her heart.”
Bluemel will play William “Billy” McGee, a character who does not exist in the novel by Esi Edugyan but was created for the limited series by Selwyn Hinds. McGee is a wealthy British businessman who relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1837. For reasons that’ll become clear in the series, he has eschewed local women and accepted an offer to marry Tanna Goff (Evans) from London, a woman with a secret that forced her to relocate to Canada. McGee’s pursuit of Goff puts him in a love triangle that pits him against titular lead, Washington Black (played when older by Kingsley Jr), a state of affairs that threatens to plunge all three of them into danger.
Tanna’s character is described as a young British woman of means, she“passes” as white but secretly born of a Melanesian mother on the Solomon Islands. But her secret eventually spills out, causing Tanna and her father to flee London for Nova Scotia. Determined to protect their social standing, her father pushes her into an arranged marriage with a local white merchant, but Tanna falls in love with 19-year-old Washington Black, a brilliant artistic soul living in the fullness of his black identity. Loving Wash lets Tanna dare dream of a life without walls – free to walk in her true skin, free to pursue her passion of composing music. But how long can she walk with a foot in both worlds before those worlds smash together?
Washington Black is being written and executive produced by “Twilight Zone“ writer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds. It will also be executive produced by Sterling K. Brown, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, Lindsay Williams and DJ Goldberg, Anthony Hemingway and Jennifer Johnson. Esi Edugyan is a co-producer on this project.
Washington Black is being created for Disney’s streaming service, so it will be a Hulu Original in the United States and we should expect to see it on Star+ in Latin America and on Disney+ everywhere else.
Filming for Washington Black will begin next month