watch Killer Mike talk with Ethan Hawke about his ‘The Good Lord Bird’ cameo, John Brown, more
Ethan Hawke's television miniseries adaptation of James McBride's novel The Good Lord Bird just aired its finale on Sunday. If you haven't watched, it's a wildly entertaining, often moving and slightly fictionalized ("All of this is true. Most of it happened") account of abolitionist John Brown's 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry which helped spark the embers of the Civil War. In one of the best performances of his career, Hawke stars as Brown who is on a literal mission from God to free the slaves, though the story is told from the point of view of a young slave, Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson), who is the story's wholly invented character. Like the book, The Good Lord Bird miniseries finds a lot of humor along the way to the doomed raid, and the cast includes Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass, as well as Steve Zahn, Wyatt Russell, and more. You can watch the first episode of The Good Lord Bird for free on YouTube, and the rest of the series via the Showtime Anytime app, or on-demand. Watch the first episode and the trailer below.
The finale also features a small but pivotal appearance from Run the Jewels' Killer Mike, whose voice you'll probably recognize before you see his face. Sunday night before the premiere, Mike wrote on Instagram, "John Brown is the definition of someone above and beyond an 'Ally'. He was a co-conspirator! He is a personal hero of mine and should be taught to all Americans as such! The book and tv series #TheGoodLordBird is a beautifully done testament to him, those he fought alongside and died with."
Killer Mike and Ethan hooked up on Instagram to talk about The Good Lord Bird after the finale, revealing that Mike's involvement came when the two were both guests on Real Time With Bill Maher and bonded over their love of John Brown. "I can't tell you what it means to me to be a part of this," Mike said. "I would've worked production if I'd had to. Not just the story of John Brown, but McBride wrote a hell of a book with The Good Lord Bird. It's funny, it's endearing, it's touching, it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry. Kids can relate to Onion...in seeing adults do some crazy shit in the name of zealotry and having to try and figure that world out. I'm proud to have been a part of this, in the very small way I was."
Hawke went on to Mike was "a blessing to have on the show. Your presence alone meant so much...I've come to view you, you're a master communicator. You're like Gandalf or something."
That's just the start of their half-hour conversation that touches on Brown, more on the series, activism, the election, the importance of listening to and trying to understand others with opposing viewpoints, and lots more (including some Atlanta restaurant recommendations). You can watch the whole thing below.