Ever since it was announced that the vaguely named IM Global Television would turn Kurt Vonnegut’s classic science fiction satire Cat’s Cradle into a TV series, I have been dreading it. Oh, I love Vonnegut’s bleak novel, but I was 100 percent certain no one could transform the slim, wonderful, esoteric book into live-action. I think I’ve just been corrected.
The Hollywood Reporter reports (from Hollywood) that Noah Hawley, executive producer and writer of the hit anthology TV series based on the Coen brothers’ movie Fargo, has been tapped to write and executive produce the Cat’s Cradle adaptation as a limited series for FX. This is really, really good news.
First of all, FX produces some really great TV; it’s not going to have an issue with Cat’s Cradle’s often low-key pace, its adult content, or its bleak ending, so that’s awesome. But what I’m really excited about is Hawley, who transformed the Coen brothers’ 1996 film Fargo into must-watch television. When that show was first announced, people freaked: How could he make an entire TV series out of a single movie? How could Hawley possibly replicate the quality of the Academy Award-winning film on TV? Just who did he think he was?
If you’ve watched the Fargo TV series, you know the answer—Hawley used completely new but intrinsically similar characters from the movie, building a larger story with similar elements. So while the TV show was larger and markedly different, it was still completely true to the tone and themes of the original movie. It was far more authentic than if Hawley had tried to retell the exact same story as the movie.
Of course I’m sure Hawley’s adaptation of Cat’s Cradle won’t be a revisionist reworking of the novel, but I’m also positive that he’s going to have to add a decent amount of material to turn it into a show that lasts more that two nights. And while the idea of anyone else on the planet having the audacity to “supplement” Vonnegut’s original work makes me furious, I actually trust Hawley to enhance the book while staying true to it—and that’s what’s really important.
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