Native Son, a retelling of the 1940 novel of the same name by Richard Wright, will make its television premiere on Saturday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
If you don’t have cable or HBO, you can watch Native Son either live or on-demand on your computer, phone, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or other streaming device through one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
If you have Amazon Prime or want to start a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, you can watch live and on-demand HBO content through the HBO Amazon Channel, which also comes with a free 7-day trial.
Once you’re signed up for both Amazon Prime and the HBO channel, you can then watch Native Son either live as it airs or on-demand anytime after. With either option, you can watch on your computer via the Amazon website, or you can watch on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or other streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
You can watch live and on-demand HBO content through PlayStation Vue, whether you already have a subscription or if you want to start a free trial. You can either add HBO to one of the main Vue channel packages (which come with 60-plus live TV channels), or you can select HBO as its own standalone option. Either way, you can watch HBO with a free trial.
Once signed up, you can watch Native Son either live as it airs or on-demand anytime after. With either option, you can watch your computer via the PS Vue website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation (3 or 4), or other supported device via the PS Vue app.
Whether you already have Hulu or you want to sign up for a new subscription, you can watch live and on-demand HBO content through the HBO add-on, which can be included with either regular Hulu or “Hulu with Live TV.”
Once signed up, you can watch Native Son live as it airs, or you can watch it on-demand anytime after. With either option, you can watch on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (on-demand only), Nintendo Switch, Echo Show or other streaming device via the Hulu app.
‘Native Son’ Preview
Based of the bestselling novel written by Richard Wright in 1940, Native Son tells the story of Bigger Thomas, an African American teenager living in poverty in Chicago and dreaming of a better life.
It features a pair of actors from Oscar-winning, Barry Jenkins-directed films. Ashton Sanders–who played Chiron in Moonlight–takes on the lead role of Bigger, while KiKi Layne–Tish from If Beale Street Could Talk–plays Bigger’s girlfriend, Bessie.
Suzan-Lori Parks, a Pullitzer Prize winner for her 2001 play Topdog/Underdog, wrote the screenplay, and artist Rashid Johnson is making his feature film directorial debut.
While the novel took place in the 1930’s, the film tells the same story but is adapted with a modern setting. Despite the 80-year time difference, though, many of the same elements and themes from the novel still ring true.
“It’s always been rough for a black man living in America,” said Sanders. “You know, there’s always pressures that are put on us. You know, I feel like the black man walks around with an anxiety because of the way that America views him, the world views him, you know? And so yeah, it’s still very relevant, because this is still kind of the same America.”
There are, of course, differences, as well. In the book, Mary–the rebellious daughter of the wealthy white family that Bigger works for–and her boyfriend Jan are political radicals. As Parks noted, that means something very different in current times.
“In the original novel, Jan was a member of the Communist Party,” she said. “So the Communist Party these days is not the same kind of party as it was back in the day. So immediately I said: Well we’ve got some parties that are also relevant, like Occupy or the anti-fascist movement, that a young person might want to join in that might cause some consternation in the hearts and minds of progressive wealthy parents.”
Nevertheless, the film remains pretty close to its source material. Those who have read the book or watched other adaptations (it has been made into a film in 1951 and 1986) will be aware of the story’s tragic, unforgiving elements, but the new film is still well worth a watch.
“The depressing nature of the story can’t be overlooked, and those looking for rays of hope will be hard-pressed to find them,” writes CNN’s Brian Lowry. “Nevertheless, Native Son vividly revives a seminal book, and once the movie and audience get their bearings, proves as thought-provoking as it is heartbreaking.”
Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. has affiliate relationships with various streaming content providers and may receive a commission if you sign up for a service via a link on this page.