The 1997 genetic dystopia film Gattaca is being turned into a TV series for Showtime.
A new television series based on the 1997 science fiction film Gattaca is currently in the works at Showtime. According to our trusted and proven sources, the dystopian science fiction film starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman will be adapted for the prestige television network. However, this is not the first time there has been an attempt to turn the cult classic into a series. Interestingly, we here at Giant Freakin Robot just recently opined that Gattaca was an ideal movie to turn into a television show, though we will not take any credit for this news.
Gattaca was the feature film debut of director Andrew Niccol, who also wrote the script for Jim Carrey’s acclaimed film The Truman Show (which followed a man slowly realizing his entire world was a scripted television show) and the story for Tom Hanks’s less acclaimed movie The Terminal (in which a man cannot leave an airport for legal reasons). While Gattaca was not a box office success upon release, its retro-futuristic art direction (which was nominated for an Academy Award) and complex themes of classism and eugenics have only made it more influential as time goes on.
The original film was set in an alternate near future in which genetic manipulation techniques had created a class of “Valid” people selected for optimal traits and “In-Valids” who are born by natural means and destined for menial work and discrimination. Gattaca follows an In-Valid played by Ethan Hawke, who has assumed the identity of a former Olympian (played by Jude Law) confined to a wheelchair after a debilitating accident. Hawke’s lifelong goal is to become an astronaut, a profession automatically off-limits due to his genetic status.
However, Ethan Hawke’s hidden identity suddenly comes under investigation due to a murder at the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation; at the same time, he begins a relationship with Uma Thurman, a Valid who nevertheless has a high risk of a medical condition that essentially puts her in the same underclass as him. Gattaca was acclaimed for its nuanced examination of the risks of eugenics and has frequently been a subject of studies for concepts of transhumanism in the years since its release.
Gattaca was in development for a television series in the late 2000s under Sony Pictures, which seems to have withered on the vine at some point. However, as we previously suggested, the beautiful yet sinister world of Gattaca is prime material for an adaptation, particularly as some kind of procedural or mystery show in a science fiction setting.
It is interesting that Showtime seems to have acquired the rights for an adaptation of Gattaca at some point. While the network has always struggled to achieve the same kind of acclaim as HBO (or more recently, streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+), Showtime recently had an enormous breakout success with the survival horror show Yellowjackets, which may indicate it is looking to re-brand itself as a home for high concept genre television. It could not find better source material than Gattaca for that.