The Plot Against America Philip Roth
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Development: HBO picks up Philip Roth alt history novel; Orchard acquires Starfish; Chris McKay boards Johnny Quest

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Dec 4, 2018, 5:15 PM EST (Updated)

We've got more development news for ya. On our marks, get set...GO!


Up first, HBO has ordered a six-part miniseries based on Philip Roth's 2004 alternate history novel, The Plot Against America, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The adaptation comes from David Simon, creator of such shows as The Wire and The Deuce. Ed Burns (The WireGeneration Kill) is co-writing the script with Simon

Winner of the Sidewise Award, the highest honor for works of alternate history, Roth's book is told from the point of view of himself as child, living in an parallel universe where hailed aviator (and notable anti-Semite) Charles Linbergh became president in 1940 instead of FDR.

As a member of the America First movement, Linbergh does not involve the United States in Europe's struggle against the Nazis, tilting the country toward fascism, and making room for casual (and violent) acts of anti-Semitism against America's Jewish population. More of a coming-of-age story than anything else, The Plot Against America is a chilling depiction of how the ideology of the Third Reich can take root anywhere in the world, even the very cradle of Democracy. 

With the recent synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, this miniseries is more relevant than ever. Roth, unfortunately, will not see the show himself, as he passed away in May. 


Next up, distribution company The Orchard has acquired the rights for the sci-fi movie Starfish, reports Deadline. Under the deal, the company will release the feature in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Written and directed by A.T. White, the movie stars Virginia Gardner (Halloween) as Aubrey, a girl attempting to stop the end of the world by solving clues on a number of mixtapes. The music is described as "an upbeat indie music score" by the report. 

“I’m deeply humbled to be launching my first feature film with The Orchard; a company that are so passionate and supportive to bold filmmakers. Starfish is deeply personal to me and I’m honoured it has found a home amongst their catalogue,” White told Deadline in an official capacity.


Lastly, The Lego Batman Movie director Chris McKay has been tapped to helm a live-action Johnny Quest movie, writes Deadline. McKay replaces Robert Rodriguez (Alita: Battle Angel), who had versions of the script done by Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titans).

Created by Doug Wildey for Hanna-Barbera in the mid-1960s, Johnny Quest was an animated series about a young boy who goes on globe-trotting adventures with his father, his best friend, his dog, and a secret agent. Considered a pop culture staple of the spy-fi decade, the show recently got an Easter egg in the '60s-inspired world of Brad Bird's Incredibles 2.

Dan Lin (The LEGO Movie), Jonathan Eirich (Death Note), Adrian Askarieh (Hitman), and Daniel Alter (also Hitman) are all producing the live-action adaptation. 

McKay has also been confirmed to direct a Nightwing film for Warner, although no more details have emerged about the project at this time.