Damon Lindelof Talks About His New HBO Project: Tom Perotta’s THE LEFTOVERS

     June 28, 2012

damon lindelof The Leftovers slice

Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof is joining forces with Election author Tom Perrotta to create a drama series for HBO based on Perotta’s 2011 book The Leftovers.  The project will be Lindelof’s first return to a television project since leaving Lost‘s Island two years ago (leaving fans with plenty of strong emotions about the show’s finale), and is part of a recently signed three-year deal with Warner Bros TV.  Lindelof and Perotta will write the new series together.

The Leftovers takes place after the Rapture, but is about the people who didn’t make the cut.  In addition to co-writing the series, Perotta and Lindelof will also serve as executive producers, along with Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger.  If the series moves forward (it’s currently in development) then Lindelof will also serve as showrunner.  Hit the jump for what Lindelof has to say about the book, how the series might differ, and why he’s not interested in doing another show with “wackadoo mythology” (that was my favorite part, Damon).

damon lindelof The LeftoversSpeaking to Vulture about the project, Lindelof said:

“When I got the book, I fell deeply and passionately in love with it.  I think that even from the moment I read the logline for the book, it was something I wanted to be vicariously a part of as opposed to just enjoying it as a consumer.”

Lindelof sped through the novel and asked around immediately if anyone had the TV or film rights to it. HBO had snagged the project already, and Lindelof asked his agents to let HBO know of his interest if they decided to pursue developing it.  Though he was not interested in being involved with another story with the aforementioned “wackadoo” aspect, he said he was drawn to the world the project creates (where there is a definite, factual deity) because:

“You can’t be an atheist anymore.  It takes us back in time to a place in human history where everyone’s lives were dictated by the gods of Olympus or the gods of the heavens.  [The book] tries to explain the purpose of it all, and that lined up with the meta level of Lost.”

Speaking of Lost, Lindelof also was interested in the fact that it was a “cool morality tale.”

“We all look at ourselves in the mirror and think, ‘Am I good?’  The fact that there’s this reaping which occurred, and you don’t make the cut, some of us don’t feel worthy, seemed very ripe territory for a cool character drama.”

The Leftovers Tom PerrottaSound familiar?  (We have to go baaaaaack!)  As for the television series though, Lindelof acknowledges that the novel would only give enough to sustain two or three episodes, which means that he and Perotta will have to greatly expand the scope and depth of the source material.  But as far as the mystery and puzzle of what happened to those who were taken, Lindelof was of course quiet, except to say that it would be central to the story.  He realizes, however, how stung many Lost fans were with the ending of that series, and their (our) apprehension at him attempting something similar once again:

“I told Tom to brace himself for people asking [about the Rapture mystery] as the first question.  And then I told him, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but I sort of have a reputation for not answering things.  I guess I can’t help myself.  I’m sure there’s a certain subset of viewers who watched Lost until the bitter end and will say, ‘I’m just not going to put myself through that again.’  But I’m so incredibly magnetized to this concept and the people in this story.  It’s firing all my creative pistons in a way they haven’t been fired since Lost.”

As long as donkey wheels, balls of light from magic caves and polar bears are avoided, it’ll be a good start. Just don’t tell him what he can’t do!