Michael Chabon is currently acting as executive producer and showrunner of the highly anticipated series ‘Star Trek: Picard’, coming to CBS All Access in 2020. But he is leaving that post now that Showtime has made a commitment to turn his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’ into a series. Chabon and his producing partner and wife Ayelet Waldman will act as executive producers and showrunners. Chabon and Waldman have a multi-year overall production deal with CBS Studios. Chabon will remain in his positions at ‘Picard’ until he transitions over to ‘Kavalier & Clay’.
David Stapf, president of CBS Television Studios, stated:
“Ayelet and Michael are two of America’s pre-eminent writers. From award-winning novels and non-fiction to their television and film collaborations, they have a remarkable body of work. We’re thrilled to have them on our incredibly talented roster.”
‘Picard’s ten-episode first season will arrive on CBS All Access on January 23, 2020. It has not been renewed for a second season, but judging based only on the trailers, that’s a given. Fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
As for ‘Kavalier & Clay’, Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman will also act as executive producers.
Inspired by real comic book icons like ‘Superman’ creators Jerry Seigel & Joe Shuster, and eccentric artist Jim Steranko, ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’ follows the exploits of Jewish American immigrant cousins living in New York City just prior to American becoming embroiled in World War II. The duo creates their own comic book hero The Escapist, which becomes wildly popular, but their rise to fame, lack of fortune, the increasing threats of World War II, and tumultuous personal lives tear them apart.
The book was published in 2000 and won the Pulitzer Prize. Chabon went on to release two short stories based on material that was cut from the original publication of ‘Kavalier & Clay’, as well as a new coda. Dark Horse Comics has released comic books featuring the fictional creation, The Escapist.
In the early 2000s, Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures (who are co-producing this TV adaptation) optioned the rights to make a film. It spent years in development hell. At one point, Tobey Maguire was attached to play Sam Clay, with Jamie Bell as Joe Kavalier, and Natalie Portman as Joe’s love interest Rosa Saks. Later, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Ben Whishaw, and Jason Schwartzman were all in consideration, and it is known that Gosling and Whishaw actually auditioned.
In 2011, plans switched from turning ‘Kavalier & Clay’ into a movie, to a TV miniseries, hopefully on HBO. (Showtime’s pretty close.) There have also been plans to turn it into an opera and/or stage play.
Since this adaptation has just been announced, it will likely be years before it comes to fruition… should it come to fruition.
Are you excited that ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’ is coming to television?