'Underground' Enlists Exec Producer John Legend to Play Frederick Douglass

The Oscar winner will star in the WGN America drama's second season.
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
John Legend

John Legend is stepping in front of the camera.

The Oscar-winning musician and Underground executive producer has signed on for a key role in the upcoming second season of the WGN America drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Legend will play famed abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery, Douglass daringly escaped bondage in Maryland and went on to become a revolutionary leader of the 19th century. A prominent writer, celebrated speaker and progressive political reformist, he was considered a beacon of hope for many.

Douglass is one of several real-life figures featured in the historical series, which centers on the Underground Railroad. Aisha Hinds (Under the Dome) will recur as Harriet Tubman, Chris Chalk plays renowned African-American abolitionist William Still, and Sadie Stratton will portray notorious slave trader Patty Cannon in season two.

The 10-episode second season is currently in production in Georgia for an early 2017 launch.

Legend executive produces the series — for which he also produced the theme — with creators-showrunners Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, as well as Anthony Hemingway, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Mark Taylor. Sony Pictures Television produces Underground in association with Get Lifted Film Company, Weed Road Pictures, Safehouse Pictures, Wandering Rocks and Tribune Studios.

Legend's other exec producing credits including Southside With You and the Oscar hopeful La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, in which he also co-stars. Legend is repped by WME and Del Shaw.

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