Donna Tartt's reps are trying to sell her latest, The Goldfinch, as a miniseries, but is it doomed to linger in development?
Andy Lewis of The Hollywood Reporter writes in a piece published today that Tartt's people are aiming for a small screen adaptation of the novel. The property certainly should be alluring to studios, the novel has received rave reviews and has a sprawling story line that focuses on a young boy who survives a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But Hollywood has had an unrequited love affair with the author before. As Lewis explains, Tartt's 1992 The Secret History was notoriously never able to make the jump from the page to the screen even though Warner Bros. bought the rights before it was published and Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne tried their hands at the screenplay. That project faded when Alan Pakula, who was developing it, died in 1998. Warner Bros. tried to team up with Miramax for a film version in 2002—after Tartt's The Little Friend was released—set to be produced by the Paltrow siblings. But it never happened.
Certainly, Tartt is not alone. There are legions of modern classics that Hollywood can't seem to get made. Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay fell through and there was fruitless talk of a miniseries at HBO. HBO even passed on an adaptation of The Corrections that starred Ewan McGregor, among other boldface names. That was after a movie with Robert Zemeckis as director was in the works.
Tartt's people seem to have the right idea pitching The Goldfinch as a miniseries, a medium which might fit a complex novel better than a movie. But whether or not the story ever makes it to the screen is still a big if.