FX Nabs Adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's 'Kindred'

Branden Jacobs Jenkins Courtney Lee Mitchell
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Joshua Zuckerman Photography

FX is adapting one of the most influential novels of the past 50 years.

The Disney-owned cable network has ordered a pilot for Kindred, based on the book by Octavia E. Butler. Playwright and Watchmen consulting producer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is writing the script and will executive produce Courtney Lee-Mitchell, who holds rights to the book, Darren Aronofsky (via his Protozoa Pictures) and The Americans creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. FX Productions is the studio.

"Since my first encounter with the novel nearly two decades ago, there have been few, if any, books and even fewer authors who have meant as much to me as Kindred and Octavia Butler," said Jacobs-Jenkins. "It has been the highlight and honor of my career thus far to try and finally bring this timeless story to life — and especially at FX, whose catalogue of bold, thought-provoking, and cutting-edge television has been an endless source of inspiration and delight."

FX's take on Kindred will center on Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has left her life of familial obligation and moved to Los Angeles. But 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 most surprisingly and intimately linked. An interracial romance 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.

Lee-Mitchell acquired rights to the book in 2008 via Butler's agent, Writers House LLC, on behalf of the author's estate.

"The Octavia E. Butler Estate was thrilled and grateful to have placed Kindred with Courtney Lee-Mitchell at the outset, who brought it to Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (a young writer who shares with Octavia the rare honor of being a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award recipient) and then to the terrific people at Protozoa," the Octavia E. Butler Estate added. "FX could not be a better or more enthusiastic partner, as evidenced by the brilliant creative team they are building, and the legendary slate of shows they have produced. We can’t wait to see this beloved work take its place among the stars in the FX universe."

Jacobs-Jenkins is repped by WME. Lee-Mitchell is repped by Nicole Compas of Ramo Law. Aronofsky, Weisberg, Fields are all with CAA. The Butler Estate is represented by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House LLC. and Hillary Bibicoff of Holmes Weinberg.

Kindred joins a roster of projects in the works at FX that includes The Spook Who Sat by the Door from Lee Daniels, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends and The Sparrow, among others.