Kurt Vonnegut’s iconic novel Slaughterhouse-Five has been picked up for development as a TV series, which should be interesting to say the least. The story wouldn’t particularly seem to lend itself to long-format if you’re sticking closely to the text, but it’s clearly a challenge that’s excited the chosen showrunner.
Variety reports that Patrick Macmanus, who managed to wrangle Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s Happy! for TV, has been signed on to adapt the novel which draws “from science fiction and Vonnegut’s own experiences in World War II, the book tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, who as a chaplain’s assistant in the U.S. Army survives the firebombing of Dresden. The narrative unfolds in a disjointed, non-linear fashion as Pilgrim becomes “unstuck” in time and the novel bounces from one point to another in his life.”
Macmanus has said that he plans to expand on the story while “staying true to Vonnegut’s tone and core themes.”
He said that “There are no lines that Vonnegut ever throws away. But there are certain lines within the book that allude to a much larger world. I’m not just talking about going off into outer space. He alludes to the Balkanization of the United States and to the hydrogen bombing of the United States. I feel like today’s TV is the only way to tell this story. Even though it’s only approximately 275 pages, I think that it’s ripe to be expanded upon exponentially.”
There’s currently no broadcaster set for the series, but we will be very interested to see how this one shapes up. A film was made by George Roy Hill back in 1972, and Guillermo del Toro has spoken about being interested in adapting it for film. With this and Dan Harmon’s The Sirens Of Titan TV series in development, Vonnegut adaptations seem to be having a bit of a moment. So it goes.
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