The director of “Moonlight” is ready to debut his groundbreaking new limited series.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Barry Jenkins talks about bringing author Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad to TV screens.

The director explains that traditionally, funding structures in Hollywood mean stories “have to be centred on the white gaze or the white characters,” but he says that is not the case with “The Underground Railroad”.

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In deciding whether to let Jenkins adapt his novel, Whitehead asked if there were any movies about slavery that inspired his take on the material.

“Slave movies? No, I was thinking Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and The Master,” Jenkins told him, to which the author responded: “Okay, you got it, you say two of my favourite movies in the last 20 years or so, take it.”

One of Jenkins’ other inspirations is the renowned artist Kerry James Marshall, who has become an important figure in the director’s life, especially through his recorded lectures and Q&As.

“When I’m around the house or I’m in the car, I just put him on and I listen to him speak,” Jenkins says. “And you know why? I don’t know that I hear loneliness in his voice — but I feel a bit less alone when I’m listening to him.”

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Talking about “The Underground Railroad”, Jenkins emphasizes the humanity in the story.

“When I think about the first episode, you know, seven minutes in, you’re getting a very sharp depiction of trauma, but I love that just before that, you have these two lovers standing in a field, they’re having almost a Shakespearean conversation in a certain way,” he says.

“In a very nuanced way, even amidst the trauma, the people, the characters still retain their humanity. And because of that, I think their personhood remains intact,” he adds. “The condition of slavery is not a thing that’s fixed or static or that has fidelity to them as persons. These things are being visited upon them.”