Back to IndieWire

Cary Fukunaga Returns To TV To Direct Event Series Based On Caleb Carr’s ‘The Alienist’

Cary Fukunaga Returns To TV To Direct Event Series Based On Caleb Carr's 'The Alienist'

Director Cary Fukunaga knows first hand the tremendous amount of work and reward that comes with taking on directorial duties of an entire TV show. Of course, he’s the man that guided the first season of “True Detective” to critical acclaim, but the shoot was long and the post-production lengthier than usual, as Fukunaga oversaw everything. It’s part of the reason why HBO opted for a handful of directors for the second season — it allows things to get moving along much faster, and it’s why you’ll be seeing the second season in June. But Fukunaga clearly enjoyed longform storytelling, and he’s got another project cooking.

Deadline reports that Fukunaga is reteaming with “True Detective” production company Anonymous Content to direct and executive produce an event series based on Caleb Carr‘s best-selling “The Alienist.” Eric Roth is also on board to produce. The book — which is guaranteed to be found on the shelves at any used bookstore — will be adapted by “Drive” writer Hossein Amini. Here’s the synopsis of the period-set, serial killer tale: 

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or “alienist.” On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan’s infamous brothels.

The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler’s intellect and Moore’s knowledge of New York’s vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology– amassing a psychological profile of the man they’re looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.

Sounds great, but this isn’t the first time an adaptation was attempted. In the mid ’90s, a Scott Rudin-produced feature was in the works with Curtis Hanson attached to direct at Paramount, but it never got off the ground. The studio will have a first look at this new iteration of the book, but there’s no word yet on when this might shoot, and Fukunaga also has a couple feature projects brewing including a war project at Fox, as well as the Alexandre Dumas adaptation “The Black Count.” Lots of options to be sure, but this is one we’d rather see first.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox