Written By Amanda Kondolojy
LOS ANGELES, June 30, 2015 – The cast and creators of WGN America’s highly anticipated, pulse-pounding original series “Underground” will unveil a first-look trailer and participate in a panel session at the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans. Series’ stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” “True Blood,” “The Great Debaters”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Leverage,” “Turn”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) and Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) will join creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes,” “CSI”) on the Center Stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Friday, July 3 from 12:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. in a not-to-be-missed “Underground” experience for Essence Festival attendees.
In WGN America’s “Underground,” bravery, ingenuity and power take center stage as slaves band together in the fight of their lives for their families, their future…and their freedom. Hailing from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is currently in production on a straight-to-series order in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a 2016 premiere on WGN America.
The “Underground” stars and creators’ appearance at the Essence Festival comes on the heels of WGN America’s recent announcement that breakout star and Smollett-Bell’s brother, Jussie Smollett (“Empire”), has signed on to guest star in the series, marking the first time in 20 years the siblings will be seen together on the small screen.
Alongside Smollett-Bell, who stars as Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage, is an internationally renowned cast including Aldis Hodge, who plays Noah, a brave, driven and insanely clever field slave; Emmy Award-nominated actor Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”) as August Pullman, a mysterious figure who walks a tightrope between morality and survival; Jessica de Gouw as Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares her husband’s abolitionist ideals; Alano Miller as Cato, a cunning, charismatic man despised and feared by his fellow slaves; Adina Porter (“True Blood,” “The 100,” “The Newsroom”) as Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife and mother; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”) as Ernestine, a fiercely devoted mother and head house slave; Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”) as John Hawkes, a lawyer whose ideals clash with the legislation he’s sworn to uphold; Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”) as Moses, a fiery preacher; Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) as Tom Macon, a plantation owner and political candidate; and Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”) as Sam, Rosalee’s brother and a talented carpenter.
“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, who serve as Executive Producers alongside Academy Award®-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”) of Weed Road Pictures, and Tory Tunnell (“King Arthur,” “Holy Rollers”) and Joby Harold (“King Arthur,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) of Safehouse Pictures. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and serves as Executive Producer for the first four episodes.