Academy Award-winner and Executive Producer John Legend celebrated the 10-episode, hour-long WGN America’s “Underground” at Sundance 2016 with panels and parties. Following a panel discussion presented in partnership with The Blackhouse Foundation last weekend, producers and the cast toasted the new show at the WGN “Underground” party at the VIDA TEQUILA Lounge at the bottom of Main Street in Park City, Utah.
We met the star Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood”, “Parenthood”) on the red carpet, along with members of the cast and producers. Actor Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), Doug Spearman (“Any Day Now”), Brickson Diamond (Co-Founder and Board Chair, The Blackhouse Foundation and “Underground” panel moderator prior to this party), Producer Steven W Wallace and Emmy Winner Vincent De Paul (“The Bay”) were there to support this new show.
Along with Jurnee Smollett-Bell, “Underground” features an acclaimed cast, including Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”), Christopher Meloni (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Marc Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Adina Porter (“The 100”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”), Chris Chalk (“Gotham”), Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Theodus Crane (“The Walking Dead”), Renwick Scott(“Treme”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”).
In WGN America’s “Underground,” a courageous blacksmith Noah (Aldis Hodge) covertly organizes a small group of his fellow slaves and pieces together a daring plan of escape across hundreds of miles to freedom. The odds of success are razor-thin for those who make it off the plantation, while the risks, dangers and obstacles multiply each step of the way.
“Underground” is created by Misha Green (“Sons Of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” “Heroes”), who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”) of Weed Road Pictures, Joby Harold (“King Arthur,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) and Tory Tunnell (“King Arthur,” “Holy Rollers”) of Safehouse Pictures. Academy Award, Golden Globe® and multi-Grammy Award winner and producer John Legend partner with his Get Lifted Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius to executive produce. Additionally, Get Lifted oversees all elements of the show’s music. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and serves as executive producer for the first four episodes.
With the lack of diversity this year in the Academy Award nominations, it was a hot topic at Sundance 2016. It was exciting to celebrate this WGN “Underground” show, and see “The Birth of a Nation” win the top 2 Sundance Film Festival Awards last night (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.)
The first look of “Underground” aired during Sundance 2016 on January 26, and the show is set to premiere March 9, 2016 (10pm ET/PT). Follow this WGN series @UndergroundWGN #BreakFreeWGN.