David Cronenberg Heads to Television with Knifeman

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Though he’s dabbled with directing television episodes in the past, David Cronenberg is planning his most ambitious small-screen project with “Knifeman.” The Hollywood Reporter brings word that the series will be based on the biography, “The Knife Man: Blood, Body-snatching and the Birth of Modern Surgery” by Wendy Moore, Cronenberg will tell the tale of 18th century surgeon John Hunter.

“From humble Scottish origins,” Moore writes on her own site, “John Hunter rose to become the most famous anatomist and surgeon of the eighteenth century. In an age when operations were crude, extremely painful and often fatal, Hunter rejected medieval traditions based on ancient Greek orthodoxy to forge a revolution in surgery founded on pioneering scientific experiments… Although a central figure of the Enlightenment, revered by fellow scientists and friendly with high society, Hunter’s tireless quest for human corpses immersed him deep in the sinister world of body-snatching. He paid exorbitant sums for stolen cadavers, stalked interesting specimens and even managed to steal the body of Charles Byrne, better known as the ‘Irish giant’.”

Cronenberg will direct the pilot with a script from Rolin Jones (“Friday Night Lights”) and will also executive produce alongside Jones, Sam Raimi, Josh Donen and Robert Zotnowski.

Cronenberg’s next theatrical project, Cosmopolis will star Robert Pattinson and is expected to hit theaters sometime this year.