Will Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series Finally Get Its Adaptation?
The Week in Literary Film and TV News
This week in literary film and television news, old things were made new again. That is, an old television show based on an older book will have a new life on Netflix, an old SF classic may finally get its brand new day on the screen, and an old favorite story of many childhoods has shown its new face as a shiny, muscled monstrosity. Plus, Reese Witherspoon hopes to give the Big Little Lies treatment to a much sadder (and much truer) story, Stephen King’s personal Yoknapatawpha is coming together on Hulu, and there’s yet another George R. R. Martin adaptation, because why stop, why ever stop? Think about that final question as you read on.
The news, in brief:
A new installment (or revival, if you will) of Tales of the City, the ’90s TV miniseries based on Armistead Maupin’s series of the same name, which follows the lives of a group of San Franciscans in the late ’70s (and whose novels were among the first to talk about the AIDS crisis), is in development at Netflix. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, who starred in the original, are both on board for the new series, set in the same boarding house, 25 years later. As a literary bonus, the new series was written by Michael Cunningham. Maupin will return as executive producer.
For decades, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov‘s seminal Foundation series has eluded screens both large and small. New Line Cinema failed to adapt it circa 1998 and circa 2008, Columbia failed to adapt it circa 2011, and HBO failed to adapt it circa 2015. According to Deadline, now Skydance Television is taking its shot, currently “closing a deal with the Asimov estate to try turning Foundation into a sprawling TV series.” Well, fingers crossed, I suppose.
Seems like Reese Witherspoon learned her lesson from Big Little Lies: adaptations of Australian best-sellers are so hot right now. Last December, she, Naomi Watts, and Bruna Papandrea optioned Penguin Bloom, a popular book that documents the true story of how an injured magpie changed the life of a grieving family (you heard me), written by Bradley Trevor Greive, and with photographs by Cameron Bloom. Now the film has landed itself a writer, Shaun Grant, and will be produced by Witherspoon, Watts, and Papandrea, along with Emma Cooper. Watts will star as Sam Bloom.
HBO films is developing an adaptation of Stephanie Capparell’s The Real Pepsi Challenge entitled The Color of Cola. Apparently, it’s about “how Pepsi broke color barriers in 1940s America.” How does this relate to the Kendall Jenner ad, I wonder?
Melanie Lynskey has joined André Holland, Sissy Spacek, and Jane Levy in the cast of Hulu’s Castle Rock, which is set in the fictional titular town dreamed up by Stephen King. Though the show is not based on any one specific work, Castle Rock is the setting for a number of stories and novels in the King multiverse, including The Dead Zone, Cujo, “The Body” (the story that eventually became Stand By Me), and Needful Things, and referred to in many others.
A new biopic about Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager—who notoriously took some 50% of his most famous client’s earnings—is currently in development, with a screenplay based on Alanna Nash’s The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley, and co-written by Nash.
Syfy has ordered a pilot based on George R. R. Martin‘s novella Nightflyers. Maybe they’re into it because of their shared ostentatious use of ‘y’.
Well, I guess I’m putting the Jumanji trailer here. It bears almost no relation—and less than no resemblance—to the beautiful and strange book of the same title by Chris Van Allsburg, my own very favorite creator of children’s books. But it does look kind of fun, I guess. One can only hope that Van Allsburg saw some serious money off of this.