It comes as the streamer is set to premiere the fourth season of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale next month and renewed the drama for a fifth season.
Michael Lesslie, who was the lead writer and showrunner of AMC’s spy drama The Little Drummer Girl, will write the pilot script for Maddaddam and also exec produce.
It comes as Deadline understands that Lesslie is no longer involved in Peacock’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica. He previously was set to create, write and exec produce the series for Sam Esmail and UCP.
Maddaddam is an apocalyptic thriller about genetic reinvention, corporate domination and young love. It is a trilogy of novels, first published in 2003, that includes Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and Maddaddam.
At the center of the trilogy, are the events leading up to the near destruction of mankind and civilization by a malicious bioengineered pandemic. The catalyst for it all is Crake, a brilliant and complicated young man so disturbed by the injustices of the world that he spends his young life developing a virus that will wipe out humans and replace us with a new species of hominid. The series not only looks at the events that lead up to that big moment, referred to in the books as the “waterless flood,” but also what happens after — including who and what shall inherit the earth.
Lesslie is exec producing along with Atwood. It is produced by Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content with Anonymous Content’s David Kanter and Bard Dorros also exec producing with Makemake Entertainment’s Angus Wall and Kent Kubena.
Atwood herself has called the books “speculative fiction,” and the timely cautionary tale will include her brand of satire and dark humor.
Disney-owned digital platform Hulu is also working with MGM on an adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments.
Lesslie’s credits include scripts for Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed, and he wrote a contemporary screenplay of Hamlet for Riz Ahmed to star in, for Netflix. He also has a number of projects for Storyteller Productions, which he set up with PJ van Sandwijk. Storyteller’s first feature documentary film, the iconic director Errol Morris’ take on Steve Bannon and titled American Dharma, premiered in 2018, and it is working with the likes of Ron Howard, Doug Liman, William Nicholson, Guy Ritchie, Morris, Steven Knight, Alex Gibney and Polly Stenham on drama and documentary projects.
Lesslie is represented by CAA, Grandview, Cassarotto, and Frankfurt Kurnit.