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Laurence Fishburne is bringing Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor to TV.

Dan Sheehan

August 5, 2021, 1:09pm

That’s right, prestige TV-lovin’ Whitehead-heads; hot on the heels of Barry Jenkins’ stunning series adaptation of The Underground Railroad, HBO Max has wisely decided to go all-in on Colson.

Deadline announced earlier today that the streaming service—in conjunction with Boat Rocker Studios and Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions—has put into development another limited series adaptation based on a novel by the double Pulitzer Prize winner. This time it’s 2009’s Sag Harbor getting the fancy small screen treatment, with Daniel “Koa” Beaty attached to write the pilot.

Set in 1985, Sag Harbor (a finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award) is the coming-of-age story of Benji Cooper, one of the few Black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. Every summer, Benji escapes to to titular Hamptons town, where a small community of Black professionals have built a community of their own.

Given Whitehead’s immense critical and commercial success, as well as the wide range of genres he’s worked across in his 20+ years as a novelist, it’s odd that it took till 2020 for us to get a screen adaptation of one of his books. Surely it’s only a matter of time before someone green-lights a big-budget movie version of Zone One or a moody mystery series based on The Intuitionist.

Hollywood Literary IP Eye of Sauron, if you’re reading this blog, my vote is for John Henry Days.

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