Justin Cronin’s post-apocalyptic vampire tale The Passage just took a big step toward finally getting a filmed adaptation.
Fox has ordered a pilot for a TV series version from executive producer Ridley Scott, who has been working on making Cronin’s trilogy into at least one film since 2007. Writer Elizabeth Heldens (Camp, Deception) is tackling the script.
The logline: “The Passage begins as a character-driven government conspiracy thriller and morphs into a post-apocalyptic saga with vampires. The series spans over a century and focuses on a young girl named Amy who must save the human race.”
A crude Hollywood-y way to describe the novel would be “The Walking Dead with vampires,” but The Passage has a far greater supernatural bent than TWD and takes place over a much longer period of time. Stephen King’s The Stand and FX’s The Strain are other comparisons that come to mind. (King is a fan, too, having once called the trilogy “one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”)
So The Passage is very ambitious material for a broadcast network — and rather dark and violent too. An adaptation also would have to deviate the characters and story a bit to make the saga really work for episodic television … yet deviate in smart, additive ways. The odds are steep that Fox will be able to pull this title off (it would be a challenge for anybody, but the constraints and habits of the Big 5 networks pile on additional limitations). The broadcast networks all famously passed on making The Walking Dead due to skittishness about its hardcore content. But they’ve also all learned a thing or two since then, so it will be interesting to see how this pilot turns out.