While adapting films into TV series is by no means a new practice, in the current decade, it seems like doing so has become a full-on trend. Just about every week sees the announcement of new TV series based on popular films, with some recently announced examples including shows adapting Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning crime epic The Departed, Joel Schumacher’s ’80s cult vampire classic The Lost Boys, and Guy Ritchie’s heist comedy Snatch. Those three are only but a mere fraction of the total film to TV development slate though.
The latest title to be added to that ever growing list is the 2006 dramedy Thank You For Smoking, the debut feature from director Jason Reitman, who would go on to greater levels of fame directing films like Juno and Up in the Air. Jason is of course the son of comedy legend Ivan Reitman, director of classics like Ghostbusters and Stripes. Thank You For Smoking starred Aaron Eckhart as smooth-talking corporate lobbyist Nick Naylor, spokesmen for the tobacco industry. The star-studded cast also included names like William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Robert Duvall, Katie Holmes, Rob Lowe, and frequent Reitman muse J.K. Simmons.
According to Variety, a company called Keshet Studios is currently developing a TV adaptation of Thank You For Smoking, although the satirical story of Nick Naylor will not simply be retold. Instead, the TV series is planned to go the Fargo-style anthology route, with each season focusing on a different hot-button topic in society. Season 1 will focus on the battle over gun control, and be titled Thank You For Shooting.
Details beyond that are scarce, as the project is still in the early stages. Considering today’s polarized social climate though, one assumes that such a series would run the risk of alienating large segments of the viewing audience, depending on what viewpoint the narrative favored. Still, controversy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as evidenced by the recent success of Jordan Peele’s racially-charged horror film Get Out.
Unlike many of the other films that have made the jump to TV – such as The Exorcist, Lethal Weapon, and Psycho – Thank You For Smoking was actually not too big a hit financially, although it was a critical darling, with many heaping praise on Eckhart’s performance especially. That said, Smoking was indeed profitable, earning nearly $40 million worldwide on a budget of only $6.5 million. It remains to be seen whether Reitman will have any creative involvement with the TV series.