In Moonlight, Barry Jenkins Secured the Bag, Too—Leaves Amazon Studios for HBO/HBO Max Overall TV Deal

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Tonja Renée Stidhum
·2 min read
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Barry Jenkins attends the 21st Annual Warner Bros. And InStyle Golden Globe After Party on January 05, 2020.
Barry Jenkins attends the 21st Annual Warner Bros. And InStyle Golden Globe After Party on January 05, 2020.

Barry Jenkins’ newly anticipated (and deftly marketed) Amazon Prime Video limited series The Underground Railroad hasn’t even premiered yet and he’s already moving on to a new creative relationship with another network/streamer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning filmmaker (and his filmmaking collective Pastel) has signed a two-year, first-look TV deal with HBO as well as its streamer, HBO Max.

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THR adds:

Under the pact, A24 will exec produce all HBO/HBO Max Pastel projects and partner with the production company’s Jenkins and Mark Ceryak on select projects outside of the deal.

The new agreement marks a reunion for A24 and Pastel following their best picture win for Jenkins’ Moonlight.

As for his current pact with Amazon Studios, The Underground Railroad is “a limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that chronicles a young woman’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South,” set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on May 14. The upcoming series stars Thuso Mbedu, Joel Edgerton and Chase W. Dillon.

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There’s actually a flurry of industry news where Black creators are seemingly being wooed away from their current deals to join a fresh network, such as Shonda Rhimes leaving ABC to go to Netflix (for reasons), Kenya Barris also leaving ABC for Netflix and Donald Glover leaving FX to go to Amazon. Needless to say, there’s only one way to snatch someone from their contract and that involves the bag. “Big bank take little bank,” indeed.

Jenkins is a busy man these days—he’s also directing an upcoming biopic about dance and choreography icon Alvin Ailey, which is extra timely given the recent Sundance documentary from Jamila Wignot that has been acquired by Neon. We’re looking forward to what he and Pastel cook up over at HBO/HBO Max! We sure it’ll be nothing short of beautiful.