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Adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's 'Kindred' on the way at FX

Octavia Butler.
(Image credit: Associated Press)

Finally, one of the most influential novels of the past 50 years is getting a live-action adaptation. FX, the Disney-owned cable network, has ordered a pilot Kindred, based Octavia E. Butler. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, playwright and Watchmen consultant, will write the script and executive produce. Courtney Lee-Mitchell holds the book rights. Also serving as executive producers are Darren Aronofsky and The Americans creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. 

The FX take on Kindred will follow Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has left her life of familial obligation and moved to Los Angeles. However, before she can get settled into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time to a 19th-century plantation with which she and her family are intimately linked. There will be an interracial romance that threads through her past and present, and the clock is ticking as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood.

In 2008, Lee-Mitchell acquired rights to the book via Butler's agent, Writers House LLC, on behalf of the author's estate. Butler wrote Kindred specifically to respond to a young man involved in black consciousness-raising. He felt ashamed of what he considered the subservience of older generations of African Americans, saying they were traitors and he wanted to kill them. Butler disagreed with this view. She believed that a historical context had to be given so that the lives of the older generations of African Americans could be understood as the silent, courageous resistance that it was, a means of survival. She decided to create a contemporary character and send her (originally it was the young man) back to slavery to explore how difficult a modern person would find it to survive in such harsh conditions. 

Along with Kindred, FX has a roster of projects in the works, which include The Spook Who Sat by the Door from Lee Daniels, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends, and The Sparrow, among others.