a deranged Ethan Hawke stars in a miniseries on Movistar + that is pure dynamite
Born in the last gasps of the 18th century and died in the middle of the 19th century, the case of John Brown is worth studying. Especially at a time when the debate on racism in the United States has come back, violently, to the forefront. A celebrated abolitionist preacher who participated in the border war known as Bleeding Kansas with his militia.
Now his story jumps to the small screen with ‘The Good Lord Bird’, a seven episode miniseries co-created by Ethan Hawke, based on the homonymous novel by James McBride that Movistar + (Showtime is the original network) premiered this past morning.
Joshua Caleb Johnson as Henry, aka Onion (Onion), a young slave rescued by Brown (Ethan Hawke) whom he mistakes for a girl (believing her name is Henrietta) and gives him a dress. Henry will since be seen in the midst of the violent preacher’s personal crusade as they tour this region of the American Midwest.
Ethan Hawke, in addition to starring (and having a great time with his deranged character) signs the script with Mark Richard, who is in control of a miniseries produced by Blumhouse. In the direction we are varying with names like Albert Hughes, Kevin Hooks, Darnell Martin, Halifaa Al-Mansour and Kate Woods.
Accompanying Hawke and Johnson are Daveed Diggs, Ellar Coltrane, Hubert Point-Du, Beau Knapp, Nick Eversman, Jack Alcott, Mo Brings Plenty, David Morse, Steve Zahn, Maya Hawke, Wyatt Russell and Orlando. Jones.
A madman and a slave
‘The Woodpecker’ carefully handles a danger of both fiction and historian: centering the story on the “white hero”. From the first minute it is clear that John Brown is an extremist. Abolitionist, yes. But a radical, a madman and a violent man. Ethan Hawke is powerful and cool. It is an overwhelming hurricane that makes us think at times that the series is about him. But not really.
The series is a strangely epic tale of maturity and personal growth by a young rogue who tries to survive and understand the world in which he is growing up. The series does not depart for a moment from the figure of the transvestite Henry, which is witness to the comings and goings of the preacher, the contradictions of the United States of the time and the powder keg that is the country on the eve of a civil war.
A careful production, generous in budget and that takes us through dusty roads, stables, camps and cities, accompanies us in a peculiar story whose script hardly gives any respite.
The result is pure dynamite. The fiction is as unhinged as its protagonist, providing great entertainment and even fun that takes us where it wants in a mix of modern western and historical fiction and comedy. There is no option to boredom without neglecting the fierce portrait of the time, of its characters, of a reality that we sometimes mistakenly believe is extinct.