Since its publication almost 20 years ago, Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, has been flirting with Hollywood. Numerous stars, directors, producers, and other show biz types have circled the project in those two decades (among them Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, Ryan Gosling, and the late Sydney Pollack), but the sprawling tale of cousins who create a comic book superhero during World War II has always been a bit too broad for the big screen. Now, finally, it may have found its home.
Variety reports that Chabon and producing partner Ayelet Waldman have signed an overall deal with CBS TV and, as part of it, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay has been given a series commitment at Showtime. Chabon and Waldman, who are married, will act as showrunners—but that won’t happen until later in 2020, when Chabon can transition out of his current position as an executive producer on another CBS show: Star Trek: Picard.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is the story of two cousins who create a superhero called the Escapist during what would later become the Golden Age of Comics. It blends elements of fiction and reality, as the Escapist is loosely based on Harry Houdini and several characters mirror other major players in the explosion of comic books surrounding World War II.
Back in 2011, filmmaker Stephen Daldry (who was attached to the project at the time) was really hoping to turn it into an HBO series because the book is set over multiple eras with numerous characters and just felt too big for a single movie. “I wanna do Kavalier & Clay on HBO as an eight-parter,” he told Collider at the time. “It’ll be so much better as a series, honestly.” And while Daldry is no longer attached and it won’t end up on HBO, this is pretty much his vision coming true. It’s a wish come true for fans, too. To see this beautiful, sprawling novel get the proper time it deserves should be worth the very long wait.
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