South African actress Thuso Mdebu has broken the glass ceiling by becoming the first actress from the rainbow nation to lead an American television series. Thuso has been cast with the lead role in Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of ‘The Underground Railroad’ – which is set to premiere later this year.
Thuso’s career kicked off after she made her debut on ‘Generations: The Legacy’ and she went on to receive two International Emmy Award nominations for playing Winnie on Mzansi Magic’s ‘Is’thunzi’.
In ‘The Underground Railroad’, Thuso will star as one of three slaves leading the storyline. Joining her will be Chase W. Dillon as Homer, and Aaron Pierre as Caesar.
The series chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumoured Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
The rising star is incredibly excited about her accomplishment saying “My thumb and neurons are failing me right now so I’ll just do as most South Africans do when this happens: I got the job! It was such an amazing process and experience. Like, true story, just prepping to audition for this role made me grow so much. It’s such a blessing and honour to tell this story… Again, words fail me so I’ll stop there for now,” she says.
According to reports, Jenkins will direct all 11 episodes of the one-hour series in what will be his first attempt at directing a TV series in its entirety.