FX has ordered a pilot based on the Octavia E. Butler novel “Kindred.”
The pilot will be written and executive produced by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Courtney Lee-Mitchell, who acquired the rights to the novel in 2008, will also executive produce along with “The Americans” creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, as well as Darren Aronofsky via Protozoa Pictures. Ernestine Walker and Merrilee Heifetz serve as co-executive producers. FX Productions will produce.
“Since my first encounter with the novel nearly two decades ago, there have been few, if any, books and even fewer authors who have meant as much to me as ‘Kindred’ and Octavia Butler,” said Jacobs-Jenkins. “It has been the highlight and honor of my career thus far to try and finally bring this timeless story to life – and especially at FX, whose catalogue of bold, thought-provoking, and cutting-edge television has been an endless source of inspiration and delight.”
The project centers on Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has uprooted her life of familial obligation and relocated to Los Angeles, ready to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. But, before she can get settled into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time to a nineteenth-century plantation with which she and her family are most surprisingly and intimately linked. An interracial romance threads through her past and present, and the clock is ticking as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood.
“The Octavia E. Butler Estate was thrilled and grateful to have placed Kindred with Courtney Lee Mitchell at the outset, who brought it to Branden Jacobs Jenkins (a young writer who shares with Octavia the rare honor of being a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award recipient) and then to the terrific people at Protozoa,” the Octavia E. Butler Estate said. “FX could not be a better or more enthusiastic partner, as evidenced by the brilliant creative team they are building, and the legendary slate of shows they have produced. We can’t wait to see this beloved work take its place among the stars in the FX universe.”
In addition to writing “Kindred,” Butler’s other works included “Parable of the Sower,” the “Patternist” series, and “Fledgling.” She was awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” Grant as well as the PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award. She passed away in 2006.
Jacobs-Jenkins is known for his work as a playwright, having been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2016 and 2018 for his plays “Gloria” and “Everybody.” He is also known for his plays “An Octoroon” and “Appropriate,” and served as a consulting producer on the Emmy-winning HBO series “Watchmen.”
Jacobs-Jenkins is repped by WME. Lee-Mitchell is repped by Ramo Law, and Aronofsky, Weisberg, Fields are repped by CAA. The Butler Estate is repped by Writers House LLC. and Holmes Weinberg.
FX has now ordered pilots based on acclaimed works by Black authors in the past month. Back in February, the cabler ordered a pilot based on the Sam Greenlee spy novel “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” That project follows Dan Freeman, the fictional first African American CIA officer hired by the agency in the late 1960s.