Showtime's The Good Lord Bird filming in Virginia

The Ethan Hawke project is one of many to film in the US state, including a Walking Dead spin-off

By Chris Evans 17 Sep 2019

Showtime's The Good Lord Bird filming in Virginia
Credit: Virginia Film Office

US outfit Blumhouse Television is shooting an eight-part TV series, The Good Lord Bird, about abolitionist John Brown for Showtime in the US state of Virginia.

Filming is taking place all around Richmond, including at a 3000-acre purpose built, state-owned, period back lot, which was previously used for the HBO series John Smith and Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln.

“HBO originally built the stunning sets on some state property and we asked them to leave them, so we could use them as a marketing tool for future projects,” enthused Andy Edmunds, director at the Virginia Film Office, to KFTV. “Now they are being adapted again for The Good Lord Bird.”

Based on James McBride’s best-selling book of the same name, The Good Lord Bird is told from the point of view of Onion, an enslaved teenager who joins Brown (played by Hawke) during the time of Bleeding Kansas, eventually participating in the famous 1859 raid on the Army depot at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but is often cited as the instigating event that started the Civil War.

Hawke is co-writing and executive producing, alongside McBride, Virginia native Mark Richard and Anthony Hemingway, who will direct and executive produce. Other executive producers include Jason Blum, Brian Taylor, Ryan Hawke, David Schiff, Jeremy Gold and Marci Wiseman.

Virginia has proven extremely popular of late, hosting projects including AMC’s untitled Walking Dead spin-off, Apple’s episodic web series, Swagger, about Kevin Durant’s experiences growing up in competitive basketball, as well as the seventh series of Homeland.

“Virginia has emerged as a popular destination for lucrative film and television productions, a hard-earned reflection of our film-friendly atmosphere, talented workers, and unparalleled scenery,” added Richmond governor Ralph Northam.

KFTV will be writing an in-depth feature about Virginia as a shooting location in the coming weeks.

Images: Virginia period back lot. credit: Virginia Film Office

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