The actor will star in and produce the limited series "Good Lord Bird," about abolitionist John Brown for Showtime. It's based on the 2013 National Book Award-winning novel by James McBride about the relationship between a young slave nicknamed Onion and abolitionist Brown.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Onion (who has yet to be cast) and details how he got to know Brown and took part in the pivotal pre-Civil War raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
Hawke (who was Oscar-nominated for co-writing "Before Midnight" and "Before Sunset") will co-write the eight-episode series with Mark Richard ("Hell on Wheels," "Fear the Walking Dead").
Emmy-winner Anthony Hemingway ("The People v. O.J. Simpson," "Underground") will direct and executive produce; Blumhouse Television is producing.
"'Good Lord Bird' is one of my favorite books, told with wit, grace and wisdom by the great James McBride," said Hawke. He describes the series as "a passion project" and praised Showtime and Hemingway, "both of whom have made some of the best television in the last couple years."
Author McBride praised Hawke as "one of America's most gifted and literate actors," adding, "I'm thankful that Showtime and Blumhouse have shown faith and trust in one of America's oddest, most profound and greatest heroes."
Hemingway added, "I've been blessed to tell great stories that make deliberate social impact by tackling topical issues facing the world, especially communities of color. With all that is going on culturally, socially and politically, the climate is ripe for material that is culturally relevant and provocative."