Charlie Kaufman’s Long-Awaited ‘IQ 83’ Adaptation May Become an HBO Series

     August 19, 2020

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Way back in 2014 (remember those days?), Charlie Kaufman was tapped to do a page one rewrite of an adaptation of Arthur Herzog’s novel IQ 83 for Paramount, with Steve Carell attached to star. Obviously that project never materialized, but Kaufman says there’s a possibility his adaptation may yet see the light of day on HBO.

In an interview with Collider’s Steve Weintraub about his upcoming Netflix film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Kaufman revealed that he’s currently developing IQ 83 as a limited series, although he stressed that there’s no telling whether or not the show will actually get made.

“I’m developing this thing for HBO, which is a limited series about a virus that causes stupidity. And it’s based on a screenplay I wrote, which is based on a novel called IQ 83. And I’m actually developing it for them, so it’s possible that it’s going to happen, [but] I don’t know that it’s going to happen. But I’m very interested in it because of the circumstances in which we live. I’m very interested in exploring the notion of that, and treating it as kind of a metaphor.”

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Image via Netflix

The novel follows Dr. James Healey, the head of a group of scientists that conducted DNA experiments which resulted in the release of an airborne disease that gradually lowers the IQ of those infected. Healey is in a race to develop a cure for the virus before succumbing to its effects himself. The premise sounds like a mix between Idiocracy and Flowers for Algernon, and with Kaufman behind it there’s no telling how odd and off-kilter the series might be if HBO decides to move forward with it. Kaufman has established a reputation for making films that defy easy categorization, so the potential for his version of IQ 83 to be something wholly unique and delightfully bizarre has me pretty excited.

You can check out the full clip below. I’m Thinking of Ending Things premiers September 4 on Netflix. For more Netflix news, check out our own Dave Trumbore’s review of the retro video game docuseries High Score.

Television