EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, HBO has landed The Time Traveler’s Wife, a drama from top UK writer-producer Steven Moffat (Dr. Who, Sherlock), with a straight to series order. I hear the project had been pursued by multiple outlets, including Amazon whose topper Jeff Bezos was involved in the effort.
Written by Moffat based on the novel by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife is described as an intricate and magical love story about Clare and Henry, and a marriage with a problem… time travel.
“I read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago, and I fell in love with it. In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ as a direct response to it. When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realized she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after – but not necessarily in that order.”
Moffat, Sue Vertue and Brian Minchin executive produce through their Hartswood Films. The company produces in association with Warner Bros. Television, which has rights to the title. Warner Bros.’ New Line division was behind the 2009 feature adaptation of the book that starred Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Steven Moffat, Hartswood and WBTV on The Time Traveler’s Wife,” HBO president of programming Casey Bloys said. “Steven’s passion is evident in every project he’s written and we are certain that his love and respect for this mesmerizing and textured novel will make it a quintessential HBO series.”
This is the third big project from an A-list creator that HBO has landed this year in a competitive situation, bidding against streaming platforms. It joins JJ Abrams’ Demimonde and Joss Whedon’s The Nevers, announced earlier this month. The deal for The Time Traveler’s Wife had been in the works for more than a month.
“HBO is the perfect home to tell this incredible story with all the scale and space it needs, and we’re delighted to be working with Warner Bros to bring Steven’s thrilling vision of the novel to life,” Hartswood said in a statement.
Niffenegger’s novel, published in 2003, tells of the story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who has a genetic disorder that makes him travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist who falls in love with him and has to deal with his condition. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap.
A Time Traveler’s Wife TV series was previously developed by ABC during the 2009-10 season with Friends‘ Marta Kauffman as writer.
Moffatt was longtime head writer/executive producer of Dr. Who and is co-creator/executive producer of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch. He also co-wrote the 2011 Steven Spielberg-directed feature The Adventures of Tintin. Moffat has won several awards, mainly for Doctor Who and Sherlock, including two Emmy Awards, five BAFTA Awards and four Hugo Awards.
Moffat and Hartswood Films are repped by UTA. Moffat is additionally represented by Berlin Associates and Bloom Hergott in the UK.