In what would be his first cable television venture, Lindelof will be overseeing an adaptation of “The Leftovers,” a 2011 novel by “Election” and “Little Children” author Tom Perrotta. According to Deadline, Lindelof will co-write the script with Perrotta, and will serve as showrunner if it goes to series.
“The Leftovers” has a supernatural/portentous twist that’s right up Lindelof’s alley. It’s set in the town of Mapleton after the Sudden Departure, during which a portion of the population vanished with no explanation — was it the Rapture? The book focuses on the town’s new mayor and his shattered family as they struggle on in the aftermath.
In an interview with Vulture, Lindelof says he pursued the project after he “fell deeply and passionately in love” with the novel, telling HBO, who’d already picked up the rights, of his interest. He mentions that the two of the themes that appealed to him were the idea that the event demanded some acknowledgment of a higher power and forced those left behind to wonder why:
“You can’t be an atheist anymore,” he says. “It takes us back in time to a place in human history where everyone’s lives were dictated by the gods of Olympus or the gods of the heavens. [The book] tries to explain the purpose of it all, and that lined up with the meta level of ‘Lost.'”
Lindelof also says the series will have to expand significantly beyond the book, which “probably only has enough content for two or three episodes,” and that he knows some people will be cautious about his starting another project with a major mystery at the center, but that “It’s firing all my creative pistons in a way they haven’t been fired since Lost.”