WGN America today kicked off its campaign to introduce audiences to its highly anticipated, original thriller, “Underground,” scheduled to premiere in early 2016. The first visual image presents a series of six compelling character posters, each with a riveting message offering individual clues to the powerful, unflinching way to reach freedom in the greatest escape story in U.S. history. “Underground,” from executive producers Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” “Heroes”), and executive producers Academy Award-winner John Legend and Akiva Goldsman, is the epic escape story of the Underground Railroad, told through a group of plantation slaves who band together for the fight of their lives—for their families, their future and their individual freedom.?
Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Leverage, Turn) as Noah, a brave, restless slave blacksmith who organizes a small team of fellow slaves on the Macon plantation to plan an escape;
· Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights, True Blood, The Great Debaters) as Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage;
· Emmy-nominated Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as August Pullman, a secretive traveler who walks a tightrope between morality and survival;
· Alano Miller (Jane The Virgin) as Cato, a cunning, charismatic man despised and feared by his fellow slaves;
· Jessica de Gouw (Arrow, Dracula) as Elizabeth Hawkes, a socialite who shares the abolitionist ideals of her husband, John;
· Amirah Vann (Girls, And So It Goes) as Ernestine, the head house slave and a fiercely devoted mother.
Additional “Underground” cast and characters include: Marc Blucas (Blue Bloods) as John Hawkes, Elizabeth’s husband and a lawyer whose principles clash with the legislation he’s sworn to uphold; Adina Porter (True Blood, The 100, The Newsroom) as Pearly Mae, a strong-willed wife and mother; Mykelti Williamson (Justified, 24) as Pearly Mae’s husband Moses, a fiery preacher; Johnny Ray Gill (Rectify) as Sam, Rosalee’s half-brother and a talented carpenter; Chris Chalk (The Newsroom, Homeland, Gotham) as William Still, an abolitionist ally; Reed Diamond (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Tom Macon, a plantation owner and political candidate; Theodus Crane (The Walking Dead) as Zeke, a formidable slave known for his might on the Macon plantation, but he privately struggles to cope with a painful secret; Renwick Scott (Treme) as Henry, a rebellious teenager with a heart of gold – he idolizes Noah and his loyalty is unflappable; and Jussie Smollett (Empire), who joins his sister Smollett-Bell in the cast as Josey, a wild-eyed runaway who doesn’t trust anyone.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is created and written by Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy, Heroes) and Joe Pokaski (Heroes, Daredevil), who serve as executive producers alongside Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, I Am Legend) of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell (King Arthur, Holy Rollers) and Joby Harold (King Arthur, Edge of Tomorrow) of Safehouse Pictures; and John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted. Anthony Hemingway (The Wire, Treme) directs and serves as executive producer for the first four episodes.