Nick Offerman & Megan Mullally Acquire Movie Rights to ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’

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Saunders, Offerman & Mullaly say they’re in ‘artistic cahoots’

It’s been a little over a month since beloved short story writer George Saunders debuted his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, but Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally have wasted no time in acquiring the bestseller’s movie rights. Everyone’s favorite Hollywood power couple will produce the film adaptation alongside Saunders, who sounds ecstatic about working with the pair. So ecstatic, a simple term like “working” wasn’t going to be enough. “I am thrilled to be in artistic cahoots with Megan and Nick, two artists I’ve long admired,” Saunders told Deadline, where the news was first reported. “My hope is that we can find a way to make the experience of getting this movie made as wild and enjoyable and unpredictable as the experience of writing it — I am so happy to have such fearless companions on the trip.”

As though Saunders hadn’t already given us enough in the way of verbal invention. Forget that “job” you work with “colleagues” in an “office.” You, friends, are in “artistic cahoots,” just like Offerman, Mullaly and Saunders.

George Saunders Likes a Challenge

The new production won’t be the first time Saunders has teamed up with comedy’s first couple. The audiobook for Lincoln and the Bardo features an enviable cast of 166 actors, including: Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, and David Sedaris. Among the first artists to sign onto the project were Offerman and Mullally, who respectively voice the characters Hans Vollman and Betsy Baron. You can listen to an excerpt of the audiobook, featuring a generous snippet of Offerman’s smoldering voice, right here:

Listen to a Clip from the Star-Studded Audio Book for George Saunders’ Novel

Lincoln in the Bardo takes place over the course of one night and tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s grief over his recently deceased son, Willie, through the narration of several ghosts. In an interview with Electric Literature, Saunders revealed that he had originally written the novel as a play, though that material didn’t make it into the final novel. But might it make the screenplay cut? We can’t wait to see what their cahoots will yield.

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