Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant, the Australian directing and writing team behind “Snowtown” and the recent “True History of the Kelly Gang,” will reunite for a TV series adaptation of “The Narrow Road to the Deep North.” The series is being set up at Fremantle.
The underlying novel by Richard Flanagan, published in 2013, chronicles a century dominated by war, with the forced labor on the Thai-Burma Railway as its dramatic heart. The story is told by an Australian doctor who was taken prisoner during World War II and became an unlikely and uncomfortable hero after the war’s end. The book won the 2014 edition of the Man Booker Prize.
Fremantle’s director of scripted entertainment, Jo Porter, will produce the adaptation as a limited series. Other Fremantle executives involved include Chris Oliver-Taylor, Amy Noble and Nat Lindwall.
“Richard Flanagan’s novel has been hailed as a masterpiece around the world. It had an immensely powerful impact on readers in Australia and was a bestseller globally,” said Porter and Oliver-Taylor. “At its core is an achingly powerful insight into the many forms of love, a humanist examination of what links us all, forged through the savagery of war. It a uniquely honest and powerful portrait of a man and the woman he loves.”
Kurzel also previously directed Cannes competition film “Macbeth” and “Assassin’s Creed.” He is currently in production on the TV adaption of “Shantaram” for Apple. Grant has writing credits that include “Berlin Syndrome” and “Jasper Jones,” David Fincher’s acclaimed Netflix series “Mindhunter” and the forthcoming feature “Penguin Bloom,” starring Naomi Watts.
“Justin Kurzel is rightly considered to be one of the most exciting directors in world cinema today, and Shaun Grant is a marvelous writer of equivalent talent who brings to the project a deep personal connection,” said Flanagan. Both Flanagan and Grant had relatives who were prisoners of war and were forced by the Japanese Army to work on the so-called Death Railway that also previously featured in Jonathan Teplitzky’s 2013 film “The Railway Man.”
Other recent drama series announced by Fremantle include “Mosquito Coast,” green-lighted by Apple, starring Justin Theroux; an adaptation for Showtime of Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast” book series with Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldman as executive producers; and the Neil Cross scripted drama “Because the Night,” being produced through Euston Films for ITV.