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Credit: Netflix

WIRE Buzz: Amazon goes vampire slaying; Altered Carbon stacks up new RPG; more

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Feb 3, 2020, 7:30 PM EST

There’s just something about that humid, hazy, Deep South mystique that seems to pair up well with vampires. From Anne Rice to Charlaine Harris, the intrigue of immortality — set at a languorous, Spanish Moss-draped pace — has a track record of making a successful leap from the printed page to the screen. 

Now Amazon is reportedly biting on yet another book-to-screen project that captures both those ingredients, winning a big bidding war for the rights to adapt author Grady Hendrix’s forthcoming novel, The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires, for its Prime Video service, according to Deadline.

Credit: Quirk Books

While the report doesn’t specify whether the project is being spun into a standalone movie or a full series, the setup sounds a little like True Blood mixed with Steel Magnolias. Pitched as a “character-driven, supernatural thriller,” Slaying Vampires will be set in the 1990s in Charleston, S.C. — a city with no shortage of haunted historic ambiance. The story “revolves around a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a real monster,” according to the report.

A Charleston native, Hendrix describes the tale as “a power ballad ode to the moms I grew up around,” according to the report — the type of resilient women “who seemed like wine-drinking, book-reading powderpuffs but who dealt with the kind of darkness on a regular basis that would make Jack Reacher cry.”

Hendrix and Brett Cohen of Quirk Books (the novel’s publisher) reportedly will both serve as executive producers. Beyond that, details on the production are light in the early going, with no word yet on casting, a director/showrunner, or premiere date. The novel is set to arrive on Apr. 7, so we’ll be keeping our garlic close at hand while we wait for more news on the TV side.

Later this month, Netflix is jumping forward once again to the cyberpunk dystopian future of author Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, which is set to hit the platform on Feb. 27 with its TV-adapted second season. With an adjacent anime already on the way, one that Netflix pledges will “explore new elements of the story mythology,” now it looks like we’ll also be getting a more interactive Altered Carbon experience in the form of a tabletop roleplaying RPG.

Credit: Netflix / Skydance Television / Hunter Entertainment

Credit: Netflix / Skydance Television / Hunter Entertainment

Fully funded (and then some) after blasting well past its initial Kickstarter goal of $20,000 only two hours after being announced, Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game is an official tie-in to the Netflix series, which is set to star Marvel veteran Anthony Mackie in the titular role of Takeshi Kovacs. Joel Kinnaman played Kovacs through Season 1, but in a story world where human consciousness can be downloaded and preserved onto cortical stacks (basically long-term storage modules) and plugged into new human bodies (known as “sleeves”), having the same story names attached to a rotating cast of actors is kind of a built-in feature of the series.

Wrapping your identity in a never-ending succession of bodies is a feature that’ll carry over into the RPG as well. “As opposed to creating a brand new character [after dying], players will have the opportunity to transfer their character’s consciousness, memories, and experiences into new Sleeves post-death… but at a cost,” the game’s crowdfunding page teases. 

Created in partnership with Skydance Television and “the incredible team behind the hit Netflix TV series,” according to game maker Hunter Entertainment, Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game is expected to arrive this August.

Finally, user-supported online publishing platform Wattpad is continuing a recent string of spinning its crowdsourced stories into movie and TV projects. Deadline reports that Sony Pictures Television has picked up author H.J. Nelson’s sci-fi themed apocalyptic adventure The Last She for a potential series adaptation.

Reportedly one of the most widely-consumed stories on the Wattpad platform with more than 12 million reads, The Last She follows Ara, Earth’s last surviving woman, in the wake of a planet-wide plague that killed off all the others (while sparing the males). “After three years of surviving alone, Ara must leave her hidden mountain home and venture out into the tribal world forged from the collapse of civilization in search of a clue her father promised could spell hope for the human race,” the report’s description explains.

Aron Levitz and Eric Lehrman of the recently-formed Wattpad Studios will executive produce, along with Wattpad’s Lindsey Ramey, who’s getting a co-executive production credit. There’s no early info on a premiere date, nor where on television the budding series might land, so we’ll try to survive as we await more details.