Recent events surrounding the 2020 election and US politics have caused many to remember and reference George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four… for its stark similarities to today’s political climate. Now, the somewhat prophetic, dystopian novel is being adapted for television after former ABC chief Paul Lee’s independent studio Wiip optioned the rights to Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s stage show of the same name. Wiip is working with Icke and Macmillan to transform their 100-minute theater production into a limited series for television.
The stage show, based on Orwell’s novel, first ran at the Nottingham Playhouse in 2013 and completed three separate runs on the West End. It also played at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway in 2017, starring Olivia Wilde and Tom Sturridge. The play was infamous for its gruesome and shocking reimagining with brutal torture scenes.
David Flynn will be overseeing the project for Wiip, who will executive produce the series alongside Icke, Macmillan, and Lee. The series is said to be a “bold new version” of Orwell’s story in an age where disinformation is dangerously prevalent. In a statement, Icke and Macmillan said, “As the world grapples with democracy and government in our divided age of surveillance, ‘fake news’ and truth decay, the urgency of Orwell’s masterpiece is undeniable. The small screen feels like a natural home for his portrait of society in which people trust their screens more than the world outside their windows.”