After Hulu announced that it will adapt John Green’s 2005 novel Looking for Alaska into an eight-episode limited series, the author celebrated the news with a fan Q&A on Thursday, where he expressed his excitement that the 13-year journey of bringing the YA story to screen has resulted in a green light.
“I was very much included in conversations around how to do this. Should we try to restart the movie, which had stalled so many times? Or should we look to new ways of telling visual stories that made it possible to tell a bigger, sprawlier story?” Green wrote in the Reddit fan thread, after followers asked for his thoughts on the news. “I was only one voice in that conversation, but I definitely felt like my voice was heard.”
The Looking for Alaska project hails from Paramount TV and Fake Empire, the production company run by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Schwartz penned the pilot for the series and will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Savage will exec produce alongside Green, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski will co-exec produce.
Schwartz, whom is best known for producing The O.C., has actively tried to adapt Green’s story for years, something the author praised and feels humbled by.
“It has been a very long thirteen years trying to figure out how/whether to adapt Looking for Alaska, but Josh cared about the book before almost anyone else had even read it, and he and Stephanie have worked so hard to get to this moment, and I am really excited,” Green wrote on Reddit. “I know they care a lot about the book and are have worked so hard for the last thirteen years to get it to a good place — and I really think it is finally there. So, I’m hopeful!”
Paramount Pictures first acquired the rights to Alaska in 2005, with Schwartz set to write the screenplay. But the project was shelved, stirring backlash from fans awaiting another Green adaptation following 2015’s Paper Towns. Green, who was heavily involved during the adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, admitted that for Looking for Alaska, he will remain in the background.
“I want to support the folks working on it in any way I can, and I’m sure I’ll visit the set and stuff. And they’ve been SO welcoming to me in all the conversations about how to proceed,” Green wrote on the thread. “I’ll certainly continue to be part of any conversations they want me in. But I don’t want to get in their way, and I also don’t want it to take over my life.”
Though originally slated to be a film years ago, Green feels content with his story becoming a miniseries, rather than a film, as “audiences are more forgiving when it comes to slow builds and explorations of side stories.”
Added the author, “There have been so many movie scripts over the last thirteen years, and a lot of them have been excellent, but there’s only so much you can do in two hours. In a TV series, even a limited one, you can linger a while longer with the characters.”
Green also explained that though the novel has sparked controversy in the past for its suggestive content, even being listed by the American Library Association as being one of 2016’s banned publications, the content will not be an issue for Hulu: “Some of the stuff that would make a movie rated-R is not a problem on Hulu.”
Green admitted that Paramount still holds rights to the novel and isn’t ruling out a future studio involvement in the project, but said that he would not be interested in participating.
Apart from Looking for Alaska, Schwartz and Savage are already partnering with Hulu on Marvel’s Runaways, which has been renewed for a second season. The new project joins Hulu’s library of book adaptations including The Handmaid’s Tale and the upcoming Catch-22 series starring George Clooney.