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‘Underground’ Review: WGN America’s Slave Railroad Drama Is Compelling TV

DEADLINE – The journey and escape of thousands of slaves to free states and Canada in the 19th century is one of the most fascinating and defiant parts of American history but one that has received little attention on the small screen. That’s about to change on March 9 when Underground debuts on WGN America.


Created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, the not-to-be-missed drama about the Underground Railroad is, as my video review above says, a harrowing and compelling series that will make you uncomfortable, amazed and ultimately inspired by one of the most treacherous and ambitious chapters in this nation’s story.


Picked up for a full-season order in February 2015, the 10-episode first season of Underground focuses on the field slaves and house slaves of a Georgia plantation who begin a pre-Civil War 600-mile trek northward for their freedom and dignity. The tenacious ensemble cast includes True Blood’s Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Straight Outta Compton’s Aldis Hodge, Jane The Virgin’s Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw, Law & Order: SVU alum Christopher Meloni, Amirah Vann and Justified’s Mykelti Williamson, among others. Empire’s Jussie Smollett and Treme’s Renwick Scott also guest star in the show exec produced by Green, Pokaski, John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold and Akiva Goldsman. Anthony Hemingway is also an EP and directs the opening episodes of the series.


Continue reading ‘Underground’ Review: WGN America’s Slave Railroad Drama Is Compelling TV

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Aldis Hodge talks about latest project ‘Underground’ on WGN


PIX 11 – Aldis Hodge, who was last seen on the big screen in “Straight Outta Compton” and on the small screen in “Leverage,” talked to PIX11 Morning News about his newest project “Underground.”


WGN America’s escape thriller “Underground” takes viewers on a pulse-pounding journey with revolutionaries of the Underground Railroad.


The 10-episode series follows a group of courageous men and women who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history and break free, despite the dire consequences that await them on the other side.


“Underground” is created by Misha Green of “Sons Of Anarchy” and Joe Pokaski of “Heroes,” who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman of “A Beautiful Mind,” of Weed Road Pictures; and Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell of Safehouse Pictures.


Visionary artist and producer John Legend, an Academy Award, Golden Globe® and multi-Grammy Award winner, and his Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius executive produce. Anthony Hemingway of “The Wire” and “Treme” directs and serves as executive producer for the first four episodes.


“Underground” will premiere Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT on WGN America.

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On The Set Of “Underground” + Aldis Hodge Opens Up About Difficult Scenes

HIP HOLLYWOOD – The new WGN America show Underground is a dramatic thriller following the lives of slaves in Georgia plotting to run to freedom. HipHollywood exclusively hit the set of the highly anticipated show to see first-hand the plantation they were shooting on and to talk to the show’s star Aldis Hodge and creator, Misha Green.


Aldis plays Noah, the ring-leader among his fellow slaves and the one who orchestrates the escape to freedom. The role was one that not only intrigued Hodge, but also challenged him as an actor. Going into a scene where he has to beg “massa” for his life and is subsequently beat, Aldis says it was the most difficult scenes he’s ever had to portray. “That was a hard day because it was my first day. And I knew when I read the script that was going to be my hardest, hardest challenge to really go there because I’m not good with submitting to defamation and submitting to humiliation and being made to feel lesser than.”


In addition to Aldis, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Alano Miller, Christopher Meloni and more also bring stellar performances to the small screen as part of the underground cast. Be sure to check back to HipHollywood to see more of our Underground coverage and watch the show when it premieres March 9th on WGN America.
Continue reading On The Set Of “Underground” + Aldis Hodge Opens Up About Difficult Scenes

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Sorry, Not Sorry: Watch 29 Celebs Perform Justin Bieber Hit


ROLLING STONE – Vanity Fair pulled together 29 celebrities while at Sundance Film Festival to perform a dramatic rendition of Justin Bieber’s hit “Sorry.” The clip was inspired by W Magazine’s video of celebrities dramatically reciting Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”


“Is it too late to say I’m sorry that I don’t know the song ‘I’m Sorry’ by Justin Bieber?” an emotional-looking Jon Hamm says at the beginning of the clip. From there, stars like John Legend, John Krasinski, Chelsea Handler and Nick Jonas all take turns adding their own histrionic spin to the track. At the end, Judd Apatow goes for loud and dramatic, yelling the lines of the song before walking off the set.


Bieber will perform at the Grammys on Monday with Jack Ü. In March, he’ll embark on a massive world tour in support of his 2015 album Purpose. The singer debuted the single “Sorry” last October a few weeks prior to the release of Purpose. Skrillex and Blood Pop co-produced the tropical, moombahton-infused track.

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Sundance – Jurnee Smollett & Aldis Stage a Mini–Friday Night Lights Reunion

Sundance Film Festival – Jurnee Smollett and… by vanityfair

The co-stars on the upcoming Underground reminisce about their days on the beloved drama series. It’s too bad their other co-stars, like Michael B. Jordan, never went on to do anything else, right?

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Get an Inside Look at WGN’s ‘Underground’ From John Legend and the Cast


YAHOO – WGN America’s new historical thriller Underground promises a very different look at our country’s uncomfortable history with slavery — and this first-look video shows exactly how different.


Set in the pre-Civil War South, Underground centers on a group of slaves who plot a dangerous escape from their Georgia plantation. The cast is stellar — Friday Night Lights alum Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Straight Outta Compton’s Aldis Hodge as two of the slaves, and Christopher Meloni as a gun-toting man of mystery — and it’s spiked with modern-day touches: The series opens with a runaway slave being chased through the woods to the sounds of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.”


In the video above — which will also premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival — the Underground cast and executive producers (including mega-star musician John Legend) explain the show’s unique take on a familiar piece of history. As star Alano Miller (Cato) puts it, “a lot of times, shows that depict slavery show it from a victim point of view. This show doesn’t do that.”


“It’s a thriller,” Legend adds. “At any moment, these folks that are struggling to escape this oppressive system could lose their lives.”


Underground premieres Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN America.