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John Legend Talks Underground, Reveals How He Transitioned into Producing Movies & TV


ABC/Randy Holmes

John Legend and his Get Lifted production company are executive producing the new series, Underground, with John overseeing music for the drama. With historical drama premiering next week, Legend reveals how he made the transition from music to producing television and films.

“It all feels connected to me. A lot of the shows and films I produced, I contributed music to as well,” Legend says in an interview with Parade. “But also, I was an English major; I really appreciate great stories and understand how important telling great stories is for great films, and given that I have some influence and a lot of connections in Hollywood, we felt like it was the right time to start our production company. We started it a few years ago, and we’ve been fortunate to have some really cool projects — and this is one of them.”

The 10-episode series follows a group of slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation, but Legend says he didn’t get a chance to meet any descendants of those who used the Underground Railroad.

“I haven’t personally, but I have stories in my family of slaves who had been freed by their master, and later the children of the master came back and reclaimed them into slavery. So I’ve always felt a personal connection to these stories.’

When asked if his contributions to Selma inspired him, Legend replies, “[Creators] Joe Pokaski and Misha Green had been working on this idea for three years, but I wasn’t involved until the last year or so. They reached out to me right after I won the award for Selma, and they asked me to come on as an executive producer with my team, particularly to focus on the music side of things.”

Underground premieres Wednesday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on WGN America.

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