HBO News Blog

Darren Aronofsky Adapting Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Sci-Fi Trilogy for HBO

By Jacob Klein on Jun 4, 2014 to MaddAddam

aronofsky-hbo-seriesAronofsky is known for his dark portraits. You’ve probably seen his latest works, Noah and Black Swan. But real Aronofsky fans remember movies like Pi and Requiem for a Dream. Over the past year we reported on Darren’s ongoing dealings with HBO but nothing solid had yet surfaced. Today it was revealed that HBO has moved a series into development attached to the Oscar-nominated director.

The project, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel trilogy Oryx and Crake (2003), Year Of The Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013) is set in the mid-21st century in a world where corporations have taken over for governments and the genetic modification of organisms is perversely ubiquitous. It centers on the events before and after a Waterless Flood that wipes out almost all of the world’s population and follows an extensive cast of characters, including those responsible for the apocalypse and those struggling to survive it.


The novels have received high praise including these honors:

A New York Times Notable Book
Washington Post Notable Book
A Best Book of the Year: The Guardian, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, The Globe and Mail
A GoodReads Reader’s Choice

The premise seems somewhat dark so we’re hoping Aronofsky is just the man to bring it to life on HBO’s air. Have any of you HBOWatchers read the series before? What did you think? How might it adapt to the silver screen? Leave us a comment below and help us get ahead of the game.

HBO has been doubling down on sci-fi as of late with several new series in the kiln right now. Which one will make it to your living room? Only the best of the best, we presume. HBO is pretty great at adapting books to screen, wouldn’t you say?

No word on a premiere date, filming date, cast or anything of the sort just yet.  In fact, Darren is currently looking for writers to help get this beast onto paper so we’re a ways off from any of the above information. All we can say for sure is that HBO is interested in the Atwood adaptation and is indeed moving forward in some capacity with this project. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

  • lordbond

    Some of the finest books I have ever read. Could comfortably be stretched to 5 seasons. I personally feel the story should be told entirely chronologically, getting to the Flood itself around the end of S3. This would make most of the main characters children in the first season. Maybe a Lost-style approach would work best with each episode focusing on different characters. Eg. An Adam/Zeb episode, then a Jimmy/Crake episode, then an Oryx episode etc. Maybe we could even see the childhood of the main Painballer. This has the potential to be amazing. Aronofsky has never made a bad movie, although I found Noah to be his weakest yet.

  • Phil

    When I read this trilogy for the first time, I saw it as an HBO series, including Kate Mara in a major role. It needs 3 seasons, one for each volume. “Olive Kitteridge” worked well abbreviated. “Madaddam” won’t.

    • Jonas

      You think 3 seasons are enough?
      I like it to be a limited series, too, but would split completely different..
      The first two books should be told simultaneously and I would guess that this alone are 3 seasons. And then of course MaddAddam.

      P.S.: It will be interesting how they will show the Crakers, without resembling Camerons Avatar – only big blue penises won’t do it! :D

  • readerj

    super excited to see this series and i can see each book being about 10-20 episodes long. i’d love if the last book held more information about the maddaddamites than their love lives and attempts to procreate. i especially hope to see more about crake.

  • StacieReads

    As a longtime fan of Atwood’s writing, Aronofsky’s films and HBO’s quality series adaptations, I’m incredibly excited. This is the absolute perfect partnership. In fact, leaving out the possibility of a great director as-yet-undiscovered, this simply wouldn’t work in anyone else’s hands.

    • anonymous

      i thought requiem for a dream couldn’t be topped in terms of despair and it’s terrifying depiction of drug addiction, but ‘enter the void’ is heavier in my opinion. whoever that director was could probably handle this material, but i do agree this is aronofsky’s cup of tea

  • Not entirely fiction: —> in a world where corporations have taken over for governments and the genetic modification of organisms is perversely ubiquitous <—.

  • Anyone else anxious to see how a Craker “sings” or what a chickie nob actually looks like?

  • David Resendez

    No! We need and HBO Dune series

    • Carlos

      I don’t want to see Dune unless they let Jadorowsky direct it!

      • David Resendez

        But he raped Frank Herbert’s mind

      • phillipkslick

        He brought brilliant visual artist to the table, that’s what he was good at, story-wise, he would’ve directed a complete piece of sh*t. And the actors he wanted to hire, his son who’s a bad actor would’ve been the star. Salvador Dali would’ve done everything he could’ve to sabotage the project, because he obviously just wanted to see how much he could get away with under Jordorowsky. Wells was in it for the grub and probably would’ve halfassed it. And he wanted to make a 12 hour movie without breaking it up, he wanted the audience to sit through it all in one sitting. F*ck Jodorowski. Plus, he had no respect for Herbert’s work. He refused to read the thing.

  • Michelle Burnett

    SUPER SUPER SUPER excited!!! I LOVE the trilogy and I love Darren Aronofsky, he is a great choice to adapt the books to a screen project.

  • Dylan Engelman

    I read the first book in one sitting on a recommendation from my mother who knows I love dystopian futures as a theme.

    I waited with bated breath for the second in the series and gobbled it up in one sitting.

    I got the 3rd several months back, and despite how much I want to read it, I still have yet to actually do so because I know I’ll read it in one whole sitting and I don’t have enough time to put aside for such an endeavor.

    Once I read the first though, I knew I wanted to see this in film (I didn’t consider tv show). And I contemplated who I’d have direct it in my perfect world where my dreams came true.

    And HBO… you made my dreams come true! SO EXCITED!

    If anyone can turn this dark world with its childishly strange bizarreness (rakunks, pigoons, crakers… oh dear), Aronofsky can do it. His visual style would accent these details so well. I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else to do it (I had a few that could come close… Terry Gilliam a bit, but it’d fall flat in places with him).

    I understand this is the beginning stages of it. But damn HBO… DO IT.

  • Kelly

    The way the books are organized I see no way that it can be adapted into a tv series. It’s not chronological.

    • jezra

      I don’t think DA’s resume, I wouldn’t think nontraditional storytelling will be an issue.

      • jezra

        Given DA’s resume*

    • prof

      You are not smart.

      • Kelly

        Did you even read the books? They are hard to get through with the constant meandering plot line. Throw in an audience who is only watching for the nudity and violence, and you’ll wind up with a quickly cancelled series.

  • Connie Rice

    It should be amazing with this director. The adaptation of Game of Thrones is pretty weak but I have high hopes for this :-)

    • dukedaduke

      pretty weak?? LOL tell that to the 18 million people who tune in every week

      • Yo, Jo

        He meant to say pretty every week. haha.

      • Connie Rice

        I meant the adaptation is pretty weak, compared to reading the actual books. I know millions who have not read the books are in love with the show – that’s fine. It will be the same with this trilogy, but I suspect Aronofsky will do a much better adaptation.

  • Aaron Kalis

    What do the writer mean by a “waterless flood”?

    • Chris

      its from the books. In the first book a main character wants to wipe the planet clean of humans using a waterless flood. SPOILER FOLLOWING: The waterless flood turned out to be a virus he spread wordwide as a anti aging medication that everyone and their mothers bought up like crazy.

      • Michelle Burnett

        Anti-aging and sexual enhancement, with a tidy side-effect of making everyone sterile, that wasn’t advertised…anyway. The books are great.

    • ecb

      There is a group in the series that refers to it that way. What these authors mean is that they’re trying to avoid spoilers.

  • Ian

    I’ve read the first and been meaning to finish the series. While I think it would be fascinating to see this made into a show, I don’t know how well received it would be. As it stands, it’s one of the darkest and bleakest books I’ve ever read. Fantastic, but bleak. I don’t really know if people can appreciate it for what it is in a TV format, I read Oryx and Crake in one sitting; the waiting game would be atrocious. I do look forward to it though.

    • ecb

      I felt the same way about the first book, but the next two shed more hope (as well as adding additional despair) and make Jimmy’s bleak perspective seem childish at times. You should seriously read the next two.

      • Ian

        I plan on it, just haven’t gotten around to reading them.

  • Meagen

    It’s a pretty dark book – I can’t say much without giving spoilers but one of the main “characters” Crake does some pretty awful things to humanity and the people around him.

  • Jef Dinsmore

    I am highly intrigued. I would love to see Aronfsky’s mind-set fleshed out on HBO.

    Alas, I am not versed in Atwood, but in reading descriptions I think they prove a good match for Mr. A sensibility. It makes me wish I had read the trilogy.

    • amaximus167

      You still can read them! :-)

      Unique and interesting stuff.

    • Connie Rice

      Read it now – they are really phenomenal books.

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