How involved will the acclaimed novelist be in the adaptation of her post-apocalyptic trilogy?
Fans of Margaret Atwood's unique, cerebral speculative fiction were thrilled earlier this year when it was announced that writer/director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Noah) is developing an HBO series based on her celebrated MaddAddam trilogy. The saga, set in a world devastated by a pandemic in which the remnants of humanity exist alongside genetically engineered humanoid creatures called "Crakers," is complex, to say the least. It jumps back and forth through time, features a number of characters and deals with more than a few very deep, dense themes. It's a challenge for anyone, even a filmmaker of Aronofsky's skill, so if you're setting out to adapt MaddAddam, you might want a little help from its creator.
So, is Atwood working on the series? In a new interview with Vulture, the author confirmed that she is indeed on board as a consulting producer for MaddAddam, and that she's already "had quite extensive conversations about structure" with Aronofsky's team. When asked if she'd like to take an even more active role, though -- like, say, scripting an episode of the show -- Atwood wasn't so sure.
"Oh, no. I’m too old. [Laughs] I think for a series, you really need a team. I’ll wait until I’m invited. [Laughs] Anyway, they’re very smart, this whole group of people. Very clever, and thoughtful. And I think they will do it justice," she said. "I think it’s appropriate that it’s a series, rather than trying to put it all in one movie, which would be very hard. I think my role as a consultant is to stay alive until they finish it, so I can actually see it! That’s good. I think that’s a goal to have. [Laughs]"
Every writer has their own approach when dealing with adaptations of their work. Some, like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, take very active roles, often handling scripting duties themselves and taking cameo roles. Others, like World War Z author Max Brooks, are a good deal more passive. For the moment, it looks like Atwood's taking the latter route, though not to the extent that Brooks has in the past. She did mention being "invited," though, so perhaps Aronofsky can talk her into working on a script eventually. In any case, it's a good thing for Atwood fans that she's at least sticking around to consult on the show.