Janicza Bravo has been tapped to direct FX’s adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred. The critically acclaimed Zola director will work alongside newcomer Mallori Johnson, who will star in the show as Dana. While Bravo is most commonly known her work on the dark dramatic comedy Zola, she also has directing credits on many other major productions, including FX’s Atlanta and Mrs. America, Amazon’s Forever and Them, and HBO‘s In Treatment. Mallori Johnson is a recent graduate of Juilliard and is represented by Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Kindred will mark the actress’s television debut.
Kindred is an influential sci-fi novel that takes place in Los Angeles, California in 1976 and follows a young aspiring Black writer named Dana as she finds herself bouncing back in time to a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. Butler uses Dana to inspect the dynamic between a 1970’s educated woman, who is aware of slavery and its history in America, with the dilemmas, struggles, and brutality of slavery. The story is an exemplary read that explores power, gender, and race issues, both in her journey back in time, as well as in her modern life. The novel was published in 1979, but remains incredibly popular, and is commonly read in college-level programs.
When Bravo was asked about the adaptation, she had this to say:
“I first read Kindred 20 years ago. I was in college. I hadn’t ever seen myself in a world like that. And certainly not at its center. What might seem like only a portrait of an invisible woman is also a potent embrace of our relationship to history and how it can bring us closer to our future. After what felt like losing over a year of the life I had come to know so well, an opportunity to direct an adaptation of this specific text was a win. On top of that, getting to partner with Branden is something I’d been wanting for quite some time.”
Branden Jacob-Jenkins, who shares the honor of being a MacArthur Genius Grant Winner with Butler, will be adapting the book to screen. Jacob-Jenkins is best known for his work on Watchmen. Courtney Lee-Mitchell acquired the rights from the Octavia E. Butler estate in 2008, and since then, FX, the Disney-owned cable network, acquired the rights from Lee-Mitchell. The pilot will be executive produced by Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky, Joe Weisberg, and Joel Fields.
No official pickup or release date have yet been confirmed.