Roadside Picnic TV series casts Matthew Goode as a Stalker

The novel that inspired Tarkovsky’s Stalker is coming to TV

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The classic Soviet Russian sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic, which inspired Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Stalker, is coming to TV and has landed its leading man.

Deadline reports that Matthew Goode (Stoker, Watchmen) has signed on to star in the latest adaptation of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s novel, which has been written by Jack Paglen (Transcendence, Alien: Covenant) for WGN. Game Of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor (also of Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genysis) is attached to direct the first episode.

Roadside Picnic “explores a near-future world where aliens have come and gone, leaving humankind to explore the wondrous and dangerous mysteries left behind. The story also explores the social ramifications of their visit, as seen through the eyes of Red (Goode), a veteran “stalker” who has made it his mission to illegally venture into the once inhabited zone and scavenge the abandoned remains of the alien culture.”

The novel Roadside Picnic inspired Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker
The novel Roadside Picnic inspired Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker

The site also offers quite a bit of information about Goode’s character Red, who is “described as an “enigmatic, blue-collar contradiction” who can be quietly intelligent one moment — and utterly ruthless the next. Red has a loving relationship with his wife Guta and his daughter Marie — who is shunned because she is a child of the “Zone,” the site of a long-ago extraterrestrial visitation. Red used to be a “Stalker” — one of the brave souls willing to risk their lives by illegally entering the Zone to sell what they find on the black market. Red, recently out of prison, finds his troubles are just beginning.”

We’re big fans of Goode, so it’s great to hear that he’s got a leading role on something as promising as this. Although there were those who didn’t get on with his take on Ozymandias in Watchmen, we thought he was great, and his performance as Uncle Charlie in Stoker was absolutely superb. He’s recently been on Downton Abbey, but we won’t hold that against him.

Roadside Picnic is one of two big pilots at WGN. The other is Scalped, based on Jason Aaron’s comic.

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