George Orwell’s dystopian sci-fi novel 1984 is getting a new TV adaptation.
The TV show, however, will be largely based on the novel’s 2013 stage play adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan.
The new 1984 TV series hails from independent production studio Wiip, which was founded by former ABC chief Paul Lee. Wiip optioned the rights to the stage play and tapped Icke and Macmillian to turn their 100-minute theatre production into a five-part limited series.
Produced for the Headlong theater company, the stage show took the Newspeak appendix of Orwell’s novel as its starting point. First launched at the Nottingham Playhouse in 2013, the play also had three separate runs on the West End. A Broadway production starring Olivia Wilde and Tom Sturridge began previews in May 2017 and opened a month later at the Hudson Theatre.
The stage show made headlines for its wild reimagining of Orwell’s vision of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism, and propaganda ― including brutal and blood-spattering torture scenes that made audience members faint and vomit.
Among those who found the play intolerable was Jennifer Lawrence, who reportedly rushed to the bathroom during one particular performance of the stage show. “As long as I have a play, Jennifer Lawrence has a place to puke,” Wilde jokingly tweeted back in July 2017.
— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) July 19, 2017
The new 1984 TV series is being overseen by David Flynn for Wiip. Flynn is executive producing alongside Lee, Icke, and Macmillan. In a statement, Icke and Macmillan said the TV adaptation will be a “bold new version” of Orwell’s story in a world where disinformation has become a serious issue.
Icke and Macmillan continued: “As the world grapples with democracy and government in our divided age of surveillance, ‘fake news’ and truth decay, the urgency of Orwell’s masterpiece is undeniable. The small screen feels like a natural home for his portrait of a society in which people trust their screens more than the world outside their windows.”
Wiip’s 1984 TV series will be the fourth small-screen adaptation of Orwell’s novel. The first three TV adaptation of the notorious dystopian story are as follows: CBS’ Studio One: 1984 (1953), Sunday Night Play: 1984 (1954), and The World of George Orwell: 1984 (1965).
On the movie front, Orwell’s novel has gotten two proper adaptations: the 1956 film 1984 and the 1984 flick Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass and Quiz writer James Graham recently attempted to adapt Orwell’s masterpiece into a film. But the latter admitted that transforming the novel into a feature-length film was not an easy feat.
“Paul and I got very excited about it and then [we realized] it’s a difficult project,” he told Deadline last February. “The book is just so bloody perfect, we started going: ‘Let’s just pause for a second.’ The world of surveillance and tech moves on so quickly, we just needed to have a broader view of it.”
Wiip’s 1984 TV series doesn’t have a network or a streaming service attached to it at this time.