Much speculation about HBO’s post-Game of Thrones projects has been made; I’m not sure if anyone had Circe on their shortlist. Based on Madeline Miller‘s bestselling 2018 novel, the story centers on the powerful Ancient Greek goddess Circe but is told from her own perspective as she “transforms from an awkward nymph to a formidable witch, able to challenge gods, titans and monsters alike.” So a classic mythology version of Maleficent; I dig it.
As THR reports, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World) are on board to write and executive produce the drama series from Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content; the duo also shares screenplay credits on Disney’s 2020 live-action re-do of Mulan. Circe is but the latest announcement in HBO’s recent round of series orders, though how many of them end up on the traditional network and how many make their way to WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max remains to be seen. [Update: We can confirm that Circe is indeed a pick-up for HBO Max with an 8-episode straight-to-series order.]
Speaking of, here’s what Sarah Aubrey, head of originals at HBO Max, had to say:
“Circe tells an epic story of love, loss, tragedy and immortal conflict, all through the eyes of a fierce female lens. I’ve been a longtime fan of Rick and Amanda’s work and their ability to simultaneously build epic imaginative worlds while creating emotional dynamic characters. In partnership with Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping, we have the dream team to bring Circe to life.”
Here’s the book’s official synopsis (via Amazon):
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.