Hulu to Adapt Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’

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An adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man is in the works at Hulu.

Apparently, the project is in the earliest phases of its development, and as such, there is no completed script that currently exists. However, Hulu acquired the rights to the Invisible Man earlier in 2017, and Variety has reported that preliminary work is underway on the project. The rights were previously owned by the Ralph and Fanny Ellison Charitable Trust.

The novel, which was written in 1952 and won the National Book Award in 1953, is widely held to be one of the greatest American literary works of the 20th Century. It follows an unnamed African-American narrator, the titular character and the one from whose perspective the story is told, as he experiences feeling invisible due to the color of his skin. He recalls various stories from throughout different periods in his life, including his attending school and college in the South, and then later moving to New York City, where he lives the rest of his life.

Hulu is developing this project coming off a host of successful literary adaptations. In 2016, the streaming service released an adaptation of Stephen King’s widely beloved 11.22.63, starring James Franco, to a good deal of fanfare and modest critical acclaim. More recently, Hulu also released The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s feminist, dystopian magnum opus. The series, which debuted in September, earned eight Emmys, including best actress (Elizabeth Moss) and, most importantly, best drama series. Hulu has also announced that they have another King-inspired project, Castle Rock, in the works, with King and J.J. Abrams both actively participating.

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Craig Erwich, in an interview with Variety, said of The Handmaid’s Tale that “we’re looking to tell intimate character stories against large worlds and large canvases that have really strong, resonant, and permanent dramatic underpinnings.” An adaptation of Invisible Man would certainly be all of those things.


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