EXCLUSIVE: Norman Mailer, the celebrated and controversial author behind books such as The Executioner’s Song, made headlines earlier this year as part of a publishing brouhaha related to a new collection of the late author’s work.
The author of The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster is now back in the news with a television series about his life.
John Buffalo Mailer, the son of the writer who died in 2007, created Mailer and has now teamed up with Ad Astra writer/director James Gray on the project.
Gray is also behind feature films including Charlie Hunnam-fronted The Lost City of Z and The Immigrant. In 2014, he directed an episode of SundanceTV’s The Red Road, but Mailer marks his first full television series.
Mailer will tell the story of the rebel-intellectual, who documented the journey America took from World War II to WiFi and engaged in one of the most publicly controversial lives – of violent confrontations with literary lions like Truman Capote and Gore Vidal, political icons, sports legends, six wives and numerous mistresses.
The series is based on J. Michael Lennon’s biography Norman Mailer: A Double Life.
It will explore a life teeming with adventure, sex, love, violence, hope, strife, betrayal, disappointments, brutal tragedies, and epic triumphs – and some of the most influential writings of the 20th Century.
It is produced by Mailer Tuchman Media, run by John Buffalo Mailer, who himself has starred in films including Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Blind. Rudy Langlais, who produced Denzel Washington film The Hurricane, exec produces alongside Mailer, Martin Tuchman and Jennifer Gelfer. UTA’s Jeremy Barber is representing the project.
“It’s hard to come up with another individual whose voice meant more in his time than Norman Mailer’s – he chronicled humanity in all its outrageous and ugly glory through a lens that was uniquely his own. I look forward to the exciting challenge of examining his wild legacy through this series,” said James Gray.
“Mailer loomed – and still looms – large over American culture, every part of it – and as much lived an epically large and complex life – of exquisite writing, violent confrontations, drunken lifestyle, volatile marriages, brilliant ideas, clashes with fellow writers, feminists, cops, politicians – the whole gamut of America in a life lived not on the margins but in the center of the tumult — much of which he created himself so he could be the star of it,” added Rudy Langlais. “I worked with Mailer for 20 years. You couldn’t make him up, couldn’t find a better subject for a dramatic series.”
John Buffalo Mailer said, “This series is going to be a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches, intimate chronicle of my father’s life, as well as his role in shaping the American dialogue for over half a century. As we examine this unique cultural moment we are experiencing today in America, looking back on how we got here through one of the most fascinating, prophetic, and controversial lenses of the 20th century will be an extraordinary tool in terms of understanding how far we have come, and how far we still have yet to go. I cannot imagine a better visionary voice to bring this journey to life today than James Gray. We are honored that it will be in his hands.”
“Throughout life writers have been the mainstay of recording the world’s history. It is my belief that Norman Mailer was one of our greatest. Not only did he write about life’s pathos, whether it be about a presidential race which changed the trajectory of our country, or diving into the mind of the world’s most beloved as well as maligned figures. Norman not only wrote about history, he lived it as well. His life was full of drama, humor, and ultimately love. It’s the kind of life that makes for great storytelling. We plan to tell it warts and all,” added Jennifer Gelfer.
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