Writer-director Justin Kurzel and his Snowtown Murders and The True History Of The Kelly Gang writer collaborator Shaun Grant have boarded Fremantle’s series adaption of Richard Flanagan’s acclaimed novel The Narrow Road To The Deep North.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, set against the backdrop of the horrific Burma Railway in 1943 and across the Pacific during World War II, charts the cruelty of war, the tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love, as seen through the eyes of an Australian doctor and prisoner of war. Fremantle’s Director of Scripted Jo Porter will produce the limited series.
Fremantle, Asia Pacific, CEO, Chris Oliver-Taylor and Fremantle’s Director of Scripted, Jo Porter said, “Richard Flanagan’s novel has been hailed as a masterpiece around the world. It had an immensely powerful impact on readers in Australia and was a bestseller globally. We needed a screenwriter and a director creatively at the top of their game to bring this tragic, heroic and remarkable story to the screen. Justin and Shaun are audacious, bold and share our passion for this project. We are thrilled to announce they will be working with us to realize our ambitions for the series.”
Kurzel commented, “I feel extremely honored to be trusted by Richard Flanagan to bring to life this complete masterpiece of a novel. I am so excited to be collaborating again with Shaun Grant and can’t wait to work with the Fremantle team in creating such an epic and incredibly powerful story.”
Grant added, “Having read Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North several years ago, and being moved beyond words, I am excited to adapt his sublime novel for the screen. My grandfather was a Prisoner of War, who worked the Thai-Burma railway, hence this project is very dear to my heart.”
Richard Flanagan concluded, “I am genuinely delighted. Justin Kurzel is rightly considered to be one of the most exciting directors in world cinema today, and Shaun Grant is a marvelous writer of equivalent talent who brings to the project a deep personal connection. It feels very right to me and I have a suspicion that the resulting series may just be astonishing.”
The Fremantle production team will include Chris Oliver Taylor, Jo Porter, Amy Noble and Nat Lindwall.
Grant’s writing credits also include the films Berlin Syndrome and Jasper Jones, both for which he received AACTA nominations, David Fincher’s acclaimed Netflix series Mindhunter and the forthcoming feature Penguin Bloom starring Naomi Watts. Kurzel’s director credits include the films Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard for which he was nominated for a Palme d’Or, and Assassin’s Creed. He is currently in production on the television adaption of Shantaram for Apple.
Recent Fremantle greenlights include Apple series Mosquito Coast starring Justin Theroux, written by Neil Cross and directed by Rupert Wyatt. The U.S. division also secured a deal with Showtime for the adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast book series with Toby Whithouse serving as showrunner, with Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldman as executive producers. Fremantle’s UK producer, Euston Films announced their ITV commission of the Neil Cross penned drama Because The Night.