Last year, Noah Hawley took on the exceptional challenge of creating a television adaptation of the beloved movie Fargo that not only respected the legacy of the 1996 original, but also fashioned a unique identity of its own. The result was a television version that debuted to widespread acclaim and netted Hawley an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries. Subsequently, Fargo season 2 has seen the series rise to even greater acclaim as the author, screenwriter, and now director took the series’ initial concept and broadened the scope of its story to create one of the best shows on television at the moment.
Now, Hawley is attempting another television adaptation with a similarly high degree of difficulty, with an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle.
According to a report by Deadline, Hawley has agreed to develop the novel as a limited series on FX, the same network that airs Fargo. That project has merely been put in development, and has not yet been given the green light, but given that Hawley is currently hot commodity at the network and FX president John Landgraf has previously expressed an interest in developing more limited series, the chances seem good this will move forward. At present, there is no word on casting, or in what capacity Hawley would serve on the series, but it may end up becoming a situation similar to his role on the upcoming X-Men-based series Legion, of which he will serve as writer and producer.
Cat’s Cradle, the novel, has been described as a satire of politics, technology, and religion, as well as the Cold War arms race of the time. In addition to giving Hawley a chance to work once again in a period setting — as he did with this season’s ‘70s-set Fargo — the story also includes some science fiction elements to go along with the sociopolitical commentary, two other elements heavily featured in the writer’s current televised work.
Right now, the biggest challenge facing this project is the dismal track record of previous adaptations of Vonnegut’s work. Though the author has been adapted several times, none of the films based on his writings are considered cinematic classics — with the possible exception of the 1972 movie of Slaughterhouse-Five. Most have wound up more along the lines of 1999’s maligned version of Breakfast of Champions with Bruce Willis. The last Vonnegut adaptation was 2009’s 2081, a 25-minute short film based on the short story ‘Harrison Bergeron.’
Still, if there’s any current TV writer to be trusted with a Vonnegut adaptation, it’s probably Noah Hawley.