Making his name famously or infamously (depending how you look at it) as a writer and producer on the hit ABC series “Lost,” Damon Lindelof‘s career has moved leaps and bounds since “Lost” began. With “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Prometheus” under his belt, and “Star Trek 2,” “World War Z” and the mysterious “1952” on the horizon, he’s a highly sought-after name for blockbuster material, and one might think the small screen is just not that interesting of a challenge anymore. Well, guess again.
Deadline reports that Lindelof will return TV to co-write with “Election” and “Little Children” author Tom Perotta an adaptation of his book “The Leftovers” for HBO. The book tells the intriguing story of the town of Mapleton, whose citizens have survived The Rapture, and continue to live on, while hundreds of their neighbors have disappeared….to somewhere. And as Lindelof explains to Vulture, he fell in love with the material immediately, while reading a book review: “I got about a paragraph into it and immediately Amazon’d the book,” he said, noting the New York Times review of the novel. “And when I got the book, I fell deeply and passionately in love with it. I think that even from the moment I read the logline for the book, it was something I wanted to be vicariously a part of as opposed to just enjoying it as a consumer.”
“The pilot will introduce characters and storylines not in the book. It has to,” Lindelof said about the approach of the adaptation. “The book is so rich in characters and details … and opens so many creative doors. But it probably only has enough content for two or three episodes.” But what is likely the big draw for Lindelof — who, if the program gets ordered to series will stay on as the showrunner — is the mystery of just where all the people who disappeared went. Yes, Lindelof is walking into that minefield of trying to answer the big questions in popular entertainment, and he admits he’s like a fly to honey.
“I guess I can’t help myself,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a certain subset of viewers who watched ‘Lost’ until the bitter end and will say, ‘I’m just not going to put myself through that again.’ But I’m so incredibly magnetized to this concept and the people in this story. It’s firing all my creative pistons in a way they haven’t been fired since ‘Lost.’ “
Good thing or bad thing? Guess we’ll find out.