A+E Studios and Thruline Entertainment have optioned the rights to Norman Mailer’s 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Executioner’s Song and have attached White Boy Rick screenwriters Logan and Noah Miller to adapt and produce a potential limited series, now in active development.
The groundbreaking book, likely Mailer’s best-known work and a central piece of the New Journalism movement in literature, centers on 35-year-old convicted killer Gary Gilmore, the first person in the U.S. to be executed following the restoration of the death penalty in 1976. It follows his turbulent final nine months of life, spanning his parole from maximum security prison, his ill-fated love affair with a divorced teenage single mother of two, his re-imprisonment for a pair of murders, and his firing-squad execution in Utah in January 1977.
The planned limited series aims to offer a fresh perspective on the events surrounding Gilmore’s trial, which made him one of the most famous men in America. Mailer’s novel springboarded the debate about capital punishment and was a finalist for the 1980 National Book Prize.
Previously, Mailer adapted Executioner’s Song into a 1982 NBC TV movie directed by Lawrence Schiller, with Tommy Lee Jones winning an Emmy for playing Gilmore. Eli Wallach, Pat Corley, Christine Lahti and Rosanna Arquette co-starred.
The Executioner’s Song limited series will be an A+E Studios production in association with Thruline. It falls under the first-look deal Thruline inked with A+E Studios earlier this year. Schiller is attached to executive produce along with Thruline’s Danny Sherman and Ron West.
The Millers’ White Boy Rick, about the wild ride of young 1980s Detroit drug kingpin Rick Wershe Jr., hits theaters September 14 via Studio 8. The pic, based on the Millers’ 2015 Black List script, stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Here is the trailer.
The Millers are repped by UTA, Thruline and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.