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Russian Sci-Fi Novel Becoming American TV Series

A scavenger in an abandoned area - WGN developing Roadside Picnic TV series

WGN America Ordering Roadside Picnic Series Pilot

WGN America isn’t a well-known network. Yet. But they’re working hard to change that with original programming. And according to Deadline, they’ve ordered a pilot for a Roadside Picnic TV series based on the short, classic Russian science fiction novel of the same name, written by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

Matthew Goode, who played Ozymandias in Watchmen, has signed on to star in the series. Jack Paglen (who wrote Transcendence and is one of three writers on the upcoming Alien: Covenant) is writing the pilot, Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys) will be directing, and Neal Moritz (I Am Legend and Battle Los Angeles) is on board as a producer. For a smaller network, WGN is definitely attracting some solid talent.

Roadside Picnic book coverThe Roadside Picnic TV series would explore a near-future world, where aliens briefly visited Earth. The visits happened in a series of small zones across the world, where the aliens left behind mysterious artifacts. Goode’s character Red, recently released from prison, was a “stalker,” or someone who illegally travels into these abandoned zones to scavenge anything that was left behind, and then sell it on the black market. Red is described as being an “enigmatic, blue-collar contradiction” who can swing between being quietly intelligent and utterly ruthless from moment to moment.
Red has a girlfriend and daughter in the novella. However, there’s no word yet on either possible casting for those roles, or how those and other characters may figure into the story.

Previous Adaptation of Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic has been adapted before, in 1979 under the title Stalker. That film was directed by critically acclaimed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, working from a screenplay adaptation written by the Strugatsky brothers, who also wrote the novella.

So, what do you think? Does the Roadside Picnic TV series sound like an interesting project to you? Will this series be a hit for WGN?

 

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