By now, it isn’t exactly news that television has supplanted cinema as the premiere creative hub for original, compelling storytelling; in point of fact, this has been the reality for for quite some time. Mainstream and alternative talents alike are coming to appreciate the freedoms of TV, whether it’s Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire), Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead, Mob City), Halle Berry (Extant), or David Lynch, who predicted the end times for film almost a year ago. Maybe he’s calling time of death prematurely, but then, maybe he’s onto something.
Either way, it’s impossible to deny the new-found allure television holds for storytellers and stories of all bents. We’re now at the point where classics like Fargo and Rosemary‘s Baby are being turned into series for the small screen (and where Quentin Tarantino is threatening to turn Django Unchained into a four-hour miniseries). Logically, we should expect to start seeing major modern filmmakers try their hand at TV, transitioning from multiplexes to home theaters in the name of their craft.
And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what Noah director Darren Aronofsky is doing with HBO, arguably one of the most important networks in ushering in TV’s new golden age. While Aronofsky has flirted with working with Home Box Office before – a long, long time ago – reports from Deadline suggest that they’ve already shaken hands on their newest venture together, an adaptation of author Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, a dystopian tale that begins with Oryx and Crake, continues with The Year of the Flood, and concludes with its namesake capstone entry, MaddAddam
Under HBO’s care, the series will simply be titled MaddAddam, similar to how George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epics have simply been categorized under the Game of Thrones umbrella. Development has begun on the project, with Aronofsky on board to executive produce and possibly direct, though that appears to still be up in the air. No one else is currently attached to MaddAddam beyond Aronofsky, though writers are indeed being sought out.
At face value, MaddAddam sounds like it’s right up Aronofsky’s alley; he’s a man who questions, so Atwood’s brand of speculative fiction should suit him quite well (or vice versa). The story takes place in not-too-distant future, in a sociopolitical environment where corporations have usurped government as humanity’s overlords. Pigs are bred to provide replacement organs for human beings, pornographic enterprise runs rampant, executions are staged on live television, and genetic splicing is all the rage. It’s a trans-human/post-human yarn filled with all kinds of weird imagery.
So Aronofsky feels like exactly the right person to shepherd from the page and into a visual medium. Noah definitely deserves recommendation for its eye candy, but the same can be said for much of Aronofsky’s work, including elliptical sci-fi picture The Fountain, or body-horror variant Black Swan. (Incidentally, the synopsis of MaddAddam may also call to mind Black Swan‘s body-morphing flourishes.) There’s even a “waterless flood” and a near-apocalypse that occurs at some point during the trilogy’s span. Who better for this material than Aronofsky?
This probably doesn’t mean Aronofsky is quitting movies, mind, but it is interesting to see him attempting something like this on television. MaddAddam, by the sound of it, wouldn’t really fit into a two hour film, and likely works better on HBO than it does in theaters. We’ll see if that suspicion bears fruit, but in the meantime, this is an exciting development in his career and in the ever-burgeoning landscape of quality television.
We’ll keep you up to date on MaddAddam news as it becomes available.