Amazon Orders Pilots for The Interestings and The Last Tycoon

by Melissa Ragsdale

Prestige television and its alternative distribution models continue to bear fruit for lovers of literature: Amazon Studios has ordered a director-contingent pilot of The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer and a cast-contingent pilot of The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitgerald’s final, posthumously-published novel.

Wolitzer’s The Interestings intimately follows a group of six friends over several decades, beginning from their time as teenagers at arts summer camp in 1974. The screen adaptation is written by Lyn Greene and Richard Levine, whose credits include Nip/Tuck.

The Last Tycoon (also known as The Love of the Last Tycoon) is an exploration of the 1930’s film industry, following the rise of film executive Monroe Stahr (inspired by real-life wunderkind Irving Thalberg). The book was unfinished at the time of Fitzgerald’s death, and Fitzgerald’s notes were compiled by literary critic Edmund Wilson. The script for the series was written by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), and the showrunner will be Chris Keyser (Party of Five).

These are by no means the first literary novels to be adapted for television. Among others, Marlon James’ Man Booker award-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings was recently optioned for a series by HBO. “I like the TV serial in terms of what you can do to explore characters,” James said regarding the adaptation.

With the character-driven nature of both Wolitzer and Fitzgerald’s novels, this ability to explore character holds a lot of promise for the upcoming series, as well as the continuing trend of book-to-tv adaptation.

As an extra element of intrigue, Amazon’s Pilot Season initiative allows viewers to vote and influence which pilots get produced into full seasons. When the time comes, we hope Wolitzer and Fitzgerald fans will take the chance to come out and show their support.

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