(CBS Local)– Showtime is the place to be on Sunday, October 4 when “The Good Lord Bird,” starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs premieres. The limited series features seven episodes and it tells the story of abolitionist John Brown and his group of freedom fighters that travel the country to eliminate slavery. The series was adapted from the James McBride book with the same name.
Diggs, who became a household name after his performance in the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton,” plays Frederick Douglass in the show. While the actor has had a lot of incredible experiences on stage and on the screen, playing one of his heroes in Douglass was a fascinating experience.
“The whole story is told through the eyes of this character Little Onion, who is freed by the abolitionist John Brown in a horribly violent manner. He joins his gang in order to survive,” said Diggs, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Getting to play the version of Frederick Douglass that is seen through the eyes of an early teenage boy is incredible. It really humanizes this person who is a hero of mine and one of our American heroes. It allows him to be flawed and it allows him to be comical. Even Frederick Douglass when he presented himself in public was not leaning into the comedy of himself. He was very much about promoting the abolitionist movement. To get to show the things that are innately humorous about him were really great.”
“The Good Lord Bird” premieres on Showtime at 9 p.m. EST/PST on October 4. In addition to watching Diggs’ acting prowess, viewers will have the opportunity to see Hawke take a deep dive into playing a complicated historical figure in Brown. Diggs was blown away by what Hawke did with this role and he thinks the audience will be too.
“His readiness and willingness to improvise and his instance of it, when you’re in a scene with him [Hawke], he is alive,” said Diggs. “When he dropped into John Brown and there is a lot there, John Brown is living. Ethan really dialed into it. As soon as action happened, you’re just living this scene with Ethan, fighting for the things you want. Then cut and he’s super mild-mannered Ethan Hawke. It was such an inclusive experience.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.