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Keep your brains from flying everywhere when you hear this one folks: a cult classic David Cronenberg film is getting the small screen treatment. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 1981's Scanners will be adapted into a forthcoming television series at HBO, with Cronenberg himself on board as an executive producer. Your noggin still fully intact?
First announced back in 2017, the mind-blowing project hails from writer/showrunner/executive producer William Bridges (no stranger to the world of captivating genre tales of the macabre, having served as a scribe on a pair of Netflix hits: Black Mirror and Stranger Things). Taking place within the telepathic world established by the original movie, the plot is said to revolve around a pair of women attempting to expose a dangerous conspiracy, while being pursued by "relentless agents with unimaginable powers."
Yann Demange (also locked in to direct an unspecified number of episodes), Michael Ellenberg, Lindsey Springer, Meredith Duff, Sarah Sullivan, René Malo, Fanny-Laure Malo, Pierre David, Clark Peterson, and Aaron Gilbert are also executive producers. HBO, Media Res Studio, and Wayward Films will co-produce.
Released in early 1981, Scanners featured the acting talents of Michael Ironside, Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, and Lawrence Dane. While not fully appreciated at the time — it became a major box office dud — the film has since picked up strong audience following and is now famous for its iconic exploding head sequence.
Speaking at the University of Iceland in 2015, Cronenberg described the project as "the most difficult movie" of his entire career. Production took place on an extremely condensed timeline, owing to the fact that the producers were hoping to use it as an easy tax write-off.
"That now seems like paradise because you don't get that money [so] easily anymore," he explained. "But the downside was that you had to make the movie and you were totally unprepared ... We were completely disorganized. While everybody else would go to lunch, I would stay on the set, writing what we were going to shoot later that afternoon. And that's not a good way to make a movie, it really isn't. We did have to do reshoots, which I normally never do, but they weren't really the normal kind of reshoots where you're reshooting something that didn't work very well. These were scenes that were actually written to make sense of what we had done before. Half the time, we didn't know what the plot was about or what was going on."
In 2007, Saw veteran Darren Lynn Bousman was tapped by Dimension Films to direct a big screen remake of Scanners, working off a script by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel). Obviously, the endeavor landed in development hell, and has yet to be heard from again.