Infamous American abolitionist John Brown didn’t become a legend by being non-controversial. In life, America’s sin of slavery weighed on his soul like few white men before or since, and his abolitionist tactics drove him to spur pacifism for a more old-fashioned type of justice that involved the business end of a pistol, culminating in the famous Raid on Harpers Ferry. Unsuccessful though that effort was, it’s now known as the “dress rehearsal” for the Civil War. Brown rubbed shoulders with abolitionist icons like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, but lingering questions about his violent methods and even his sanity meant he was never fully embraced by the movement.
And now, his fight is being depicted by the great Ethan Hawke for a limited Showtime series The Good Lord Bird, which will show Brown in all his righteous fury and religious fervor.
The Good Lord Bird also features Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass, along with Steve Zahn, Wyatt Russell and Orlando Jones, and with Ellar Coltrane (who played Hawke’s son in Boyhood) and Maya Hawke (who is his daughter in real life). The show premieres on August 9.