British-Indian novelist Salman Rushdie is venturing into screenwriting with Next People, a drama series project for Showtime. Rushdie will write the script for the project, which dissects different aspects of contemporary American life. Although Rushdie is considered a British writer (he was even knighted by Queen Elizabeth), he actually splits his time between London and New York and is a major American culture buff. (And a Yankees fan).
Rushdie had expressed interest in branching out into TV writing, and a few months ago, his Hollywood reps at UTA and his literary agent Andrew Wylie started discussing the possibility of him doing a TV series. Word of Rushdie’s intentions got to Showtime entertainment president David Nevins, a fan of Rushdie’s. He flew to New York to meet with the writer and woo him to do a show for Showtime. Rushdie was reportedly impressed by Nevins’ passion and agreed to develop a show for the pay cable network. Word is he went straight to Showtime and didn’t shop the project to other networks. In addition to writing, Rushdie will executive produce with Working Title TV.
Rushdie, whose style is described as “magical realism mixed with historical fiction,” published his latest novel, Luca and the Fire of Life, in November. He first received acclaim with his second novel, 1981’s Midnight’s Children, but it was another book, the controversial 1988 tome The Satanic Verses, that brought him worldwide fame, especially after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him.