Darren Aronofsky gears up to adapt Margaret Atwood's acclaimed MaddAddam saga

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Jun 5, 2014, 12:47 PM EDT

Darren Aronofosky's next project could be his most ambitious yet.

Deadline reports that the acclaimed director of Black Swan and Noah is developing MaddAddam, a new drama series based on the 2013 novel of the same name (and its two companion novels) by Booker Prize and Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood (who you might best know for her dystopian classic The Handmaid's Tale). Aronofosky will serve as the series' executive producer, but could also direct. 

Deemed "speculative fiction" (rather than science fiction) by Atwood, the three novels on which MaddAddam will be based -- 2003's Oryx and Crake, 2009's The Year of the Flood and 2013's MaddAddam -- tell the story of a near future in which much of humanity has been wiped in a catastrophe known as the "Waterless Flood," a pandemic spread through a bioengineered virus hidden in medicine. Before the Flood, humans depended heavily on the power of corporations, and society was increasingly divided between corporate employees living in luxurious compounds and "pleeblands" who were relegated to the lower class. After the Flood, the world is devastated, and the few humans who are left co-exist with genetically engineered humanoids known as "Crakers." The first two novels in the series exist on parallel timelines, and both feature frequent flashbacks to what characters (including those who caused it) did before the Flood, and how they survived the catastrophe. The final book in the trilogy unites characters from Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood as they struggle to survive.

The series is an epic saga, compelling and often frightening in its plausibility, that explores human decadence, social class, genetic engineering, religion, love and more through the prism of its post-apocalyptic premise and a large cast of characters, and it's easy to see both why Aronofsky would be drawn to it and why HBO might find it a good fit. The first book in the series was one of five Atwood novels to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and all three volumes have received critical acclaim. 

We don't know yet when we might see MaddAddam on HBO (if, indeed, the network picks it up). Aronofsky's still developing films, too, after all. If this developing series does become a reality, though, it could be both Aronofsky's biggest project ever and another powerful genre series for one of TV's most prestigious networks.

(Via Deadline)