George Orwell's 1984 is getting a new TV adaptation through ABC chief Paul Lee's wiip studio venture. However, this 1984 adaptation won't be based on Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four: A Novel, but rather on the 2013 stage play by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan. Both Icke and Macmillan will be involved in developing the wiip show, which is reportedly being planned as a five-part limited series. The stage show has earned notoriety for its wild reimagining of Orwell's nightmare vision of fascism and oppression - including gory torture scenes that have made audience members (allegedly including Jennifer Lawrence) faint, run, or vomit.
A TV adaptation of the 1984 stage play could be a shocking horror-esque vision for the small screen - one that could certainly generate buzz. This new 1984 series will be run by David Flynn, who will also executive produce alongside Icke, Macmillan and Paul Lee. Icke and Macmillan have teased that this new TV adaptation will be a "bold new version" for modern times, and a world that is now grappling with, and addicted to, misinformation and false realities.
In a statement, Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan said:
“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.”
If you've never read it, here's the synopsis for George Orwell's Ninteen Eighty-Four:
The story takes place in an imagined future, the year 1984, when much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism, and propaganda. Great Britain, known as Airstrip One, has become a province of a totalitarian superstate named Oceania that is ruled by the Party who employ the Thought Police to persecute individuality and independent thinking. Big Brother, the leader of the Party, enjoys an intense cult of personality despite the fact that he may not even exist. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a diligent and skillful rank-and-file worker and Outer Party member who secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion. He enters into a forbidden relationship with a colleague, Julia, and starts to remember what life was like before the Party came to power.
Reporting by Deadline