Independent studio Wiip (“Dickinson”) is adapting Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s play “1984,” based on George Orwell’s eponymous 1949 dystopian social science fiction novel, as a five-part series for television.
The play had successful runs at the U.K.’s Nottingham Playhouse and the West End, as well as on Broadway.
Executive producers on the series include Icke, Macmillan, and Wiip’s Paul Lee and David Flynn, with Flynn overseeing the project for the studio.
“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,” said Icke and Macmillan. “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. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Wiip to make a bold new version of this essential story and to discover what it has to say to us in our unprecedented, difficult times.”
The story takes place in an imagined future, in the year 1984, having fallen to denialism, propaganda, endless war and mass surveillance. The novel examines how facts and truths of politics and reality can be easily manipulated.
“’Nineteen Eighty-Four’ has never been more relevant. As long-time fans of Rob and Duncan, we couldn’t be more excited to bring their vision of this classic to a global audience,” said Flynn.
The novel was previously adapted by Michael Anderson in 1956 and by Michael Radford in 1984. A version by “Quiz” writer James Graham, to be directed by Paul Greengrass (“News of the World”) has been in development for some time.
Wiip’s projects include Peabody winner “Dickinson” for Apple TV Plus; “The Uninhabitable Earth” for HBO Max; and “Queen America” for Facebook Watch. Wiip also serves as the co-studio alongside HBO on limited series “Mare of Easttown” and “The White House Plumbers.”
The studio is also adapting William Dalrymple’s best-selling historical book on colonialism, “The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company,” as a series with India’s Roy Kapur Films, as revealed by Variety.
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