Guillermo del Toro to Develop 1950s Crime Solving Drama NUTSHELL STUDIES at HBO

     September 18, 2012


Throw yet another project onto Guillermo del Toro’s growing to-do list.  The visionary filmmaker is developing an adaptation of Corinne May Botz’s novel Nutshell Studies for HBO with novelist Sara Gran.  Del Toro will serve as executive producer on the project as well as director, while Gran will write and co-executive produce the series.  The story is described as a Hitchcockian drama about a 1950s small-town housewife who becomes obsessed with solving brutal crimes.  Fans of the book need not worry, as Botz will also be involved with the series adaptation as a consultant.

Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis of the book.

the-nutshell-studies-book-coverNews of the Nutshell Studies adaptation comes courtesy of THR.  Gran currently writes for the TNT series Southland and is also developing a series adaptation of her own female detective novel series Claire Dewitt.  As we well know, del Toro is a busy guy so I wouldn’t expect him to have a huge role in the show going forward, but he’ll certainly be involved with the creation and development of the pilot.

He’s currently knee-deep in post-production on his next directorial effort Pacific Rim, and he’s also prepping an adaptation of Pinocchio on which he’ll make his stop-motion animation directing debut.  Del Toro has also been working on a live-action television iteration of Hulk for ABC, but that project remains deep in development.

HBO is a swell fit for del Toro’s sensibilities, and Nutshell Studies seems like a quirky premise that could thrive on the cable channel with del Toro’s input and a solid showrunner onboard.  The property has only been optioned at this point, so there’s no guarantee that the series will get a pilot order, but this is one to keep an eye on in the near future.

Read a synopsis for Botz’s novel below:

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death offers readers an extraordinary glimpse into the mind of a master criminal investigator. Frances Glessner Lee, a wealthy grandmother, founded the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard in 1936 and was later appointed captain in the New Hampshire police. In the 1940s and 1950s she built dollhouse crime scenes based on real cases in order to train detectives to assess visual evidence. Still used in forensic training today, the eighteen Nutshell dioramas, on a scale of 1:12, display an astounding level of detail: pencils write, window shades move, whistles blow, and clues to the crimes are revealed to those who study the scenes carefully.

Corinne May Botz’s lush color photographs lure viewers into every crevice of Frances Lee’s models and breathe life into these deadly miniatures, which present the dark side of domestic life, unveiling tales of prostitution, alcoholism, and adultery. The accompanying line drawings, specially prepared for this volume, highlight the noteworthy forensic evidence in each case. Botz’s introductory essay, which draws on archival research and interviews with Lee’s family and police colleagues, presents a captivating portrait of Lee. [Amazon]