INTERSTELLAR Co-Writer Jonah Nolan Developing FOUNDATION TV Show for HBO

     November 10, 2014


While you’d be hard-pressed to find someone not familiar with Christopher Nolan’s work, his brother and frequent collaborator Jonathan Nolan is responsible for helping craft some of Christopher’s most beloved films.  He wrote the short story that served as the inspiration for Memento and co-wrote the screenplays for The Prestige, The Dark Knight Rises, and the seminal The Dark Knight with his brother.  Most recently, Jonah collaborated on the screenplay for Christopher’s sci-fi epic Interstellar (which he initially wrote for Steven Spielberg to direct), and now he’s continuing on with the sci-fi theme in a TV series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s book trilogy Foundation.  More after the jump. 

foundation-book-coverPer The Wrap, Jonah Nolan is developing a Foundation TV series for HBO that he will write and produce.  While his brother keeps busy in the feature film world, Jonah has become well versed in the language of television having created CBS’ Person of Interest.  He serves as executive producer and co-showrunner of that series, but now he has his sights set on Foundation.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, Asimov’s book series takes place at a time when humans are scattered on planets all over the universe, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. When a psycho-historian who has the power to see the future foretells that the empire will come under collapse very soon, he sets out to ensure that the knowledge of mankind isn’t wiped out.  Hollywood has been trying to adapt the material for years, and most recently Roland Emmerich was attached to direct a feature film adaptation for Sony.  That iteration never came to fruition, and when the rights became available this summer, HBO took advantage of the opportunity and scooped them up.

It’s unclear how far along development is on Foundation, but it won’t be Nolan’s only brush with HBO.  Nolan is spearheading an adaptation of the sci-fi film Westworld at the network, and he already co-wrote and directed the pilot with a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, and Ed Harris.  If both Westworld and Foundation are ordered to series I’m curious to see how Nolan will juggle three separate shows, and which (if any) he chooses to tackle as showrunner.  Regardless, all are interesting prospects, Nolan’s a fantastic talent, and science is awesome, so this is exciting news indeed.

Read a synopsis for Asmiov’s book below.

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun—or fight them and be destroyed. []