This story fell through the cracks for me a few weeks ago, but it might interest those of you who are either Chuck Palahniuk or Fight Club fans: During a recent Reddit AMA, the author revealed his 1999 novel Survivor is being adapted for a TV series:
Survivor is in development as a television series. Jim Uhls, the screenwriter of Fight Club is writing the first season. That is all I am allowed to tell you.
Survivor is a dark comedy that focuses on the aftermath of the end of the Creedish cult. The cult urges its devoted followers to go forth into society and be servants, believing that a sign from God is imminent. Naturally, because it's Palahniuk, the Creedish plan to deliver themselves to God through mass suicide. The majority of the book takes place after this event. Tender Branson, one of the few surviving members, becomes the main protagonist of the story as he gains a degree of fame and notoriety for his involvement with the cult. The police even suspect him of mass murder. The entire novel is framed as an autobiography, with Tender telling his story to the black box of an airplane he has hijacked.
When the Fight Club movie adaptation first came out, it was a critical and cultural hit, and many predicted that Palahniuk would be the next big go-to novelist for movie adaptations. But Palahniuk's novels have been notoriously difficult to adapt for screen, with the only other movie adaptation of his novels being 2008's Choke, which was a passion project for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Clark Gregg, who both wrote and directed the film, as well as starring in it alongside an exceptionally talented ensemble.
Yet now might finally be the time for adaptations based on Palahniuk's work to flourish. Part of the issue with his novels is that they've just been too weird, too dark, too strange to translate onto the screen. But we're living in a time where Deadpool is the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time, Garth Ennis's Preacher is now a hit series on AMC, and Neil Gaiman's American Gods is coming to Starz. We're now OK with the weird and the dark and the frankly fucked up. The Fight Club trailer may have seemed shockingly envelope pushing back in 1999, but today it's mundane compared to what we see on a weekly basis on, say, Game of Thrones:
What's more, we're living in a time where the networks no longer dictate the TV we watch or content we consume. With cable channels getting more daring in their content, and alternative streaming services like Netflix embracing the dark and experimental, series based on Palahniuk's novels could easily find a home.
So it seems we're on the cusp of a flood of Palahniuk adaptations. Last fall, James Franco's production company optioned the rights for Rant, previously regarded as an unadaptable novel. Palahniuk himself is involved in the Kickstarter-backed adaptation of Lullaby. A number of his other novels have been in various stages of development over the last few years, but all have mostly stalled out. Yet if even one or two of these current adaptations are green-lit and end up being well-received, we can expect those long-dormant projects will be pulled out and dusted off.
Why do you think Chuck Palahniuk's books have been so difficult to adapt?