Caryn Mandabach Prods Developing Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘When We Were Orphans’


Caryn Mandabach Productions has optioned the TV rights to Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro’s psychological mystery novel, When We Were Orphans. The Peaky Blinders producer will develop the book, which was first published by Faber & Faber in 2000 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, as a limited series.

The story centers on Christopher Banks, a celebrated detective in 1930s London. His encounters with friends past and present lead him to unravel a mystery surrounding the disappearance of his parents during his childhood in Shanghai. The journey into darkness examines how historical events affect and shape our lives.

It is undecided if the property will be structured as a Chinese co-production, but given the Chinese elements, I’m told nothing is being ruled out.

Ishiguro is the celebrated author of such works as Never Let Me Go and The Remains Of The Day. The latter won the Man Booker Prize in 1989. It was made into a 1993 Merchant Ivory film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, scoring eight Oscar nominations. Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.

He will exec produce When We Were Orphans along with Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook for Caryn Mandabach Productions. Glazebrook says, “Each one of Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterpieces contains a world so vivid that one feels one has lived inside it. When We Were Orphans is no exception — a psychological thriller like no other that extends across continents into the heart of a war. It’s a very personal adventure that resonates today, and we could not be more excited to bring this extraordinary story to the screen.”

The news follows Peaky Blinders‘ fourth season becoming the highest-rated drama for BBC Two in 2017. Season 5 is on deck for 2019.

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