A24 Will Adapt Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower Into a Movie
From the movie studio that has given film nerds something to talk about for years, A24 has won the rights to adapt Octavia Butler’s science fiction novel Parable of the Sower into a feature film.
According to Gizmodo, the film will be directed by Garrett Bradley, who won a 2020 Sundance Film Festival award for directing for her documentary short Time. Bradley became the first Black woman to win the award, and the short was also nominated for an Academy Award, too. Bradley also worked on the recent documentary Naomi Osaka, about the superstar Japanese-Haitian tennis player.
Not only will we be getting an adaptation, but one from the lens of a Black woman. While I am currently unfamiliar with Bradley’s work, I will certainly be seeking it out in the future.
Released in 1993, Parable of the Sower takes place in the then-distant future of 2024, a time when our favorite unholy trinity of climate change, wealth inequality, and corporate greed has ravaged the nation, leaving it in a state of pure dystopia.
Our lead is Lauren Oya Olamina, an African American teenager who details everything in a journal. She has a condition called “hyper-empathy” where she feels the emotions of others, due to the side effects of drugs her late mother took while pregnant.
Lauren lives with her father, step-mother, and three half brothers in the remains of a gated community in California. She and her community struggle to maintain any sense of civilization against the Mad Max-like world outside, where rape, torture, violence, and pure lawlessness are allowed to take place. Police officers and firefighters exploit their positions for profit and do very little to actually serve any common good. Lauren’s father, a Baptist pastor, has been trying to keep their community civilized by sharing of resources and investing in mutual aid for each other. Some might call that democratic socialism.
Still, Lauren can tell this is only a temporary thing. In response to the darkness surrounding her, she starts the religion Earthseed, based around the concept “God is Change.”
It is a deeply powerful novel, and its sequel series, Parable of the Talents, very much feels like it predicted elements of today’s society, including a far-right president who wanted to Make America Great Again.
Every dystopian author really nailed the 2019-2020s period. Eerie.
Butler was a fantastic author who passed away too soon. Hopefully this film will bring her vision to a new audience that will carry it forward. I will be following the casting and production of this film closely.
(via Gizmodo, image: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy)
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