Vikings creator Michael Hirst adapting The Great Gatsby at A+E
After receiving multiple big-screen adaptations since its 1925 publishing, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is finally making its way to the small screen as Vikings creator Michael Hirst has signed on to develop a series iteration at A+E Studios and ITV Studios America, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Set in the Roaring Twenties on Long Island, the story of Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel centers on narrator Nick Carraway as he begins building a friendship with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and learns of his obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. The series adaptation will further explore New York’s Black community and musical subculture during the time period, with Columbia University’s William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American studies Farah Jasmine Griffin serving as a consultant on the series, working directly with Hirst and consulting producer Blake Hazard, great-granddaughter of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, on the miniseries reimagining.
“I seem to have lived with Gatsby most of my life, reading it first as a schoolboy, later teaching it at Oxford in the 1970s then re-reading it periodically ever since,” Hirst said. “As the critic Lionel Trilling once wrote: ‘The Great Gatsby is still as fresh as when it first appeared, it has even gained in weight and relevance.’ Today, as America seeks to reinvent itself once again, is the perfect moment to look with new eyes at this timeless story, to explore its famous and iconic characters through the modern lens of gender, race and sexual orientation. Fitzgerald’s profoundly romantic vision does not prevent him examining and exposing the darker underbelly of the American experience, which is why the story speaks to both tragedy and hope, and why it continues to resonate today.”
Hirst is attached to pen the script for the “closed-ended miniseries” and executive produce alongside Groundswell Productions’ Michael London (Sideways), while the co-producers currently are at work shopping the project around to premium cable and streaming outlets. Sources report that A+E have held the rights to the novel for decades, going all the way back to the small screen film starring Paul Rudd as Carraway, and that they’ve been quietly working with Hirst for at least three years, with Apple secretly attached last year before departing.
“I have long dreamt of a more diverse, inclusive version of Gatsby that better reflects the America we live in, one that might allow us all to see ourselves in Scott’s wildly romantic text,” Hazard said. “Michael brings a deep reverence for Scott’s work to the project, but also a fearlessness about bringing such an iconic story to life in an accessible and fresh way. I’m delighted to be a part of the project.”
(Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for A+E Networks)