Sorry, Franzenites. According to Deadline, HBO has scrapped its plans to make a series based on Jonathan Franzen’s acclaimed 2001 novel about a Midwestern couple and their three grown children after considering its pilot. “The Corrections” was shaping up to be high-end TV indeed, with Noah Baumbach handling the adaptation with Franzen and Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Rhys Ifans and Greta Gerwig in the cast.
Deadline reports that “Word is HBO brass liked the performances but the decision came down to adapting the book’s challenging narrative, which moves through time and cuts forwards and back. While that works in the novel, it proved difficult to sustain in a series and challenging for viewers to follow, hampering the potential show’s accessibility.”
“The Corrections” has been kicking around the studios for years now — producer Scott Rudin holds the rights, and Stephen Daldry and Robert Zemeckis have at different times each been attached to direct a film version. HBO’s foray is the closest anyone’s gotten to a finished product, though the novel seems unwieldy source material for either a big or small screen adaptation. Maybe some things are better left on the page?
HBO will at least have Franzen on its air via another route — he’s one of the interviewees in the network’s upcoming birding documentary “The Central Park Effect,” scheduled to make its broadcast premiere on July 16th.