Ellis has joined Washington Black, Hulu’s nine-episode adventure series starring and executive-produced by This Is Us Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown.
Adapted from Esi Edugyan’s bestselling novel and touted as “an event series by every definition, Washington Black follows the extraordinary 19th-century adventures of George Washington “Wash” Black (newcomer Eddie Karanja), an 11-year-old boy on a Barbados sugar plantation who must flee after a shocking death threatens to upend his life.
Brown will play Medwin Harris, a gregarious, larger-than-life type who traveled the world after a traumatic childhood as a Black refugee in Nova Scotia and takes Wash on as his protégé.
Ellis meanwhile will fill the role of Christopher “Titch” Wilde, an eccentric steampunk inventor whose youthful enthusiasm masks an inner vulnerability. A disturbing death at his family’s sugar plantation catapults Titch on “a remarkable journey across the sky” with Wash his side. Titch in turn finds himself thrust into the position of mentor and father figure, a role he is ill-prepared for because Titch is chasing the shadow of his own father.
Washington Black is further described as “the tale of a singular young man: pirate ship-stowaway-turned-initiate; rugged explorer of uncharted territory; survivor of the tundra, the desert and the high seas; an engineer; an inventor; and an artist.” As Wash traverses the globe — from searing Barbados heat to Arctic ice — he finds an unexpected and fraught love along the way. He also meets many an enigmatic figure in his travels, and realizes that he alone is the engine of his hero’s journey.
Ernest Kingsley Junior plays Wash as a young man.
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds will serve as showrunner and exec-produce alongside Brown, series writer Jennifer Johnson, directors Wanuri Kahiu and Mo Marable, and others.