The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay‘s twenty-year journey to the screen may finally be coming to an end. A limited series adaptation of Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel novel has been set up at Showtime through CBS Television Studios with a big production commitment. It will be written and executive produced by Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, who have signed a multi-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios.
Star Trek franchise’s Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman are also executive producing the project. It will be produced by Paramount Television, whose movie studio parent Paramount Picture owns the rights to the book, and CBS TV Studios in the first collaboration between the new corporate siblings at the merged ViacomCBS.
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Under the overall pact, the husband-and-wife team of Chabon and Ayelet will create and develop projects for CBS TV Studios across all platforms, starting with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, on which the duo will serve as executive producer/showrunners.
Waldman and Chabon have several other projects in various stages of development, including A Really Good Day starring Anna Chlumsky (Veep) for Showtime, based on Waldman’s book about “microdosing” with LSD. Peter Berg, Michael Lombardo and Elizabeth Rogers will executive produce via Film44. Also in the pipeline are Behind You at Hulu, from National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, The Heavens, inspired by the bestselling novel, and Ghost Ship, the tragic story of the Oakland, Calif. art collective that caught fire, with 36 fatalities.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is an epic tale of love, war and the birth of America’s comic book superhero obsession in big-band-era New York.
The 2000 novel, which has sold millions of copies around the world, has been credited for the legitimization of comic books as a serious literary genre, and was also the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York’s exhibition “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy.”
“Ayelet and Michael are two of America’s pre-eminent writers,” said David Stapf, President, CBS Television Studios. “From award-winning novels and non-fiction to their television and film collaborations, they have a remarkable body of work. We’re thrilled to have them on our incredibly talented roster.”
At CBS TV Studios, Chabon is executive producer/showrunner on the studio’s upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Picard alongside executive producers Kurtzman and Goldsman. Chabon will stay with the series, which has completed its first season, until he transitions full-time to showrunner of Kavalier and Clay sometime next year. He will remain creatively involved as an executive producer on Star Trek: Picard if it is renewed for a second season as fully expected. Chabon originally penned two episodes of CBS TV Studios’ Star Trek: Short Treks, which led to his gig on Picard.
Additionally, Chabon and Aylet co-wrote and executive produced with Susannah Grant CBS Studios’ praised Netflix limited series Unbelievable, which landed four Golden Globe nominations yesterday.
“The team at CBS Studios is the best we’ve ever worked with,” said Waldman and Chabon. “We’re looking forward with so much excitement to this next phase of our collaboration.”
Chabon and Waldman are curating an anthology of essays, Fight of the Century (from ViacomCBS-owned Simon and Schuster), a collaboration between the couple and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Waldman is a bestselling author of a number of novels and works of nonfiction, which also include A Really Good Day, Love and Treasure and Bad Mother.
Chabon is also the bestselling author of the novels Moonglow, Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Telegraph Avenue, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Summerland, The Final Solution and Gentlemen of the Road; the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth; and the essay collections Maps and Legends, Manhood for Amateurs, Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces and Bookends.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Chabon has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, Sidewise and Ignotus awards (Spain’s Hugo Award), and many others. His feature writing credits include John Carter and Spiderman 2.
The movie rights to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay were snapped ahead of its 2000 publication by producer Scott Rudin and Paramount. Originally, the late Sydney Pollack was attached to direct, with Jude Law circling the role of escape-artist-turned-comic-artist Joe Kavalier.
Stephen Daldry later came in as director. The film came close to a green light in 2004, with Tobey Maguire, Jamie Bell and Natalie Portman as the leads, and again in 2006, with Ryan Gosling, Andrew Garfield, Ben Whishaw and Jason Schwartzmann starring. In 2011, Daldry revealed that he wanted to adapt the 600-page novel as an eight-part limited series for HBO. The title had been largely dormant for the past decade.
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