One of the biggest names in literary fiction, one of the world’s most prominent filmmakers, and a premium cable juggernaut are all climbing into bed with one another to create a show that definitely has our attention. HBO has recently started development of MaddAddam, based on a trilogy of futuristic Margaret Atwood novels, with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky along for the ride as a producer.
Comprised of Oryx and Crake (2003), Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013), which Atwood calls “speculative fiction” rather than straight sci-fi, are set in the near future. In the mid-21st century, corporations have taken the place of traditional governments, and elective genetic modification has become an every day occurrence. The story revolves around the events leading up to and following a “Waterless Flood,” a biological catastrophe, and follows a massive array of characters that are struggling to survive the apocalypse.
According to Deadline, Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures will produce the series after his fiancé, and producer, Brandi-Ann Milbrandt brought the project to the company. The Protozoa team is currently meeting with writers, though there are no names to bandy about at the moment. Nothing is official at the present time, but there is the possibility that Aronofsky, most known for helming movies like Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, and most recently the biblical epic Noah, could use this as a directing vehicle.
The Canadian-born Atwood is one of the most celebrated writers of her, or any, generation. She’s won just about every major award, including the Booker Prize and an Arthur C. Clarke Award (for 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale). In grad school I routinely got into arguments defending sci-fi and speculative fiction as legitimate forms of writing against many of my professors and fellow students—there’s huge schism between “literary” fiction and genre fiction amongst the academic crowd. Atwood, a literary darling, was often one of the key examples I liked to throw out at people to illustrate that things like sci-fi, horror, and mystery can be literary, too. Well-written is well written, regardless of if you’re talking about the future, hideous monsters, or the coming of age story of a young girl who just doesn’t quite fit in her Middle American community.
This is the first possible project in a three-year-long first-look deal that Protozoa signed with HBO back in January. Given the cable giant’s recent history for turning out fantastic original content, the potential is through the roof. Shows like Game of Thrones have shown that they’re willing to go to the lengths necessary to adequately create a new and different world on screen, which they would certainly need to do with MaddAddam. There’s no timeline for this series, but we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it.