The long-gestating adaptation of author Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has been at the top of Hollywood’s to-do list since its publication in 2000. Now, more than a decade later, filmmaker Stephen Daldry has breathed new life into the project by suggesting it be taken to HBO, and produced as an 8-hour miniseries.
Fans of the book will no doubt squeal with delight at the suggestion, which would grant a more comprehensive staging of the sweeping novel. The story concerns Joe Kavalier, who after escaping from the Nazis joins his cousin Sammy Clay in New York. Together, with their shared love of art and storytelling, the pair becomes a Siegel and Shuster-esque phenomenon after creating the comic book character, The Escapist.
Daldry, who directed the upcoming Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, also helmed such films as Billy Elliot, The Hours and The Reader – the last two earning Academy Awards for Nicole Kidman and Kate Winslet, respectively. The filmmaker was brought on in 2009 to helm The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as a feature produced by Scott Rudin. At one point the film was set up with the late Sydney Pollack to direct, starring the likes of Natalie Portman and Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Despite the talent behind it and the attractiveness of the concept, a consensus was never reached on the script, and the project was subsequently placed on the back-burner.
Now, in an interview with Collider, Daldry confirms he’s not given up hope on the project, and, in fact, would like to see it land at HBO.
“I would love to do something for TV…I wanna do Kavalier & Clay on HBO as an eight-parter. It’ll be so much better as a series, honestly. It’ll be a really good one. It’d go great with Boardwalk Empire.”
It’s nice that, like some sort of cinematic sommelier, Daldry offers such a choice pairing of Kavalier and Boardwalk. For now, however, this is just Daldry talking about where he’d like to see the project find a home – though the idea certainly sounds right up HBO’s alley. At the moment, the network is working with Rudin on converting Jonathan Franzen’s literary work The Corrections into a series featuring Chris Cooper, Diane Wiest and Ewan McGregor. Meanwhile, Michael Chabon and his wife Ayelet Waldman are working to bring the original series Hobgoblin to HBO with director Darren Aronofsky onboard to helm the pilot.
One crucial sticking point could be the rights, however. Right now, they rest with Paramount - which, according to Daldry, leaves things somewhat up in the air.
“Well I spent a year working on [Kavalier & Clay] with Michael Chabon, so we’re pretty close. And the rights, good question. Will Paramount give them to me? I don’t know.”
The fact that Daldry is suggesting what would be a very ambitious project by adding such specifics as a potential network and run time, implies this is no mere notion that just popped into his head. And although the rights to Kavalier & Clay sit elsewhere, with the various creative connections all converging on HBO, it’s hard to imagine this idea not coming to fruition.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any changes regarding The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.