Oscar Isaac Will Play America’s Greatest Author In New Series

Oscar Isaac will play Kurt Vonnegut in Amazon's limited series, Helltown, based on the novel of the same name about the real-life connection between Vonnegut and the Cape Cod Cannibal.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

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Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac has proven to be a fantastic actor, bringing to life Poe Dameron in Star Wars, the openly malevolent Blue in Sucker Punch, creepy inventor Nathan Bateman in Ex Machina, and a pair of super roles, first as Apocalypse and later in the MCU as Moon Knight. Now Variety reports that the gifted thespian has signed on for what may be his most demanding character yet: Kurt Vonnegut. In an upcoming Amazon series, the Dune star will play a fictionalized version of the legendary author of Slaughterhouse-Five long before he became a literary icon.

Helltown, an eight-episode limited series, follows Vonnegut as a struggling novelist on Cape Cod in 1969, trying to make ends meet with his wife and five children. The murder of two women in Provincetown sets off an obsession in the author as he takes up a hunt for the killer and gets dangerously close to the truth. Based on the novel of the same name by Casey Sherman, the series will feature award-winners in front of and behind the camera.

Ed Berger, director of All Quiet on the Western Front, recently notched four Academy Awards for the movie, and he’ll be directing all eight episodes of Helltown. Another MCU alum serves as a producer with his production company, Team Downey. That’s right, Robert Downey Jr. will be helping behind the scenes to bring the novel to life for Amazon.

The series takes place in 1969, the same year Vonnegut released his sixth and most successful novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. Prior releases were minor hits, including Mother Night and Cat’s Cradle, but the semi-autobiographical anti-war novel launched the author’s career to a different level. A veteran of World War II, Vonnegut fought in the Battle of the Bulge and later was a prisoner of war in the German city of Dresden, which provided the material for his later novel.

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Oscar Isaac in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Despite the eccentric author’s public persona making it seem likely he’d be directly involved in solving a murder, it’s too wild to be true, which makes it even more astounding that, yes, it’s true. Vonnegut’s daughter, Edith, was friends with Tony Costa, the Cape Cod Cannibal, and the thought that his daughter was almost a victim haunted the writer as he covered Costa’s trial for Life magazine. If she had accepted an offer to visit Costa’s marijuana patch, she would likely have been among the many young women to fall victim to the charismatic killer.

Helltown will be Oscar Isaac’s second series, following the middling success of Moon Knight on Disney+. For 17 years in a row, the prolific actor has released a new movie, and his involvement in the Amazon series won’t bring that streak to an end any time soon. Isaac is reprising his role as Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man 2099, in both this year’s Across the Spider-Verse and next year’s Beyond the Spider-Verse, joining Tom Holland and Hailee Steinfeld as MCU actors involved with Sony’s growing Spider-Man franchise.

More franchise opportunities for the gifted actor are good, as he’s not returning for Dune: Part 2; no one knows what’s going on with the next Star Wars film, and Moon Knight Season 2 will be a shock to everyone if it ever happens. Fans of Oscar Isaac will get their longest and best look at the actor when he plays Kurt Vonnegut in Helltown, expected to start filming this year with an expected 2024 release.