Variety reports that HBO is developing a limited series based on Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. If that strikes a chord, you might remember that Dark Places was previously adapted into a film starring Charlize Theron. The film received mediocre reviews and only grossed $5.1 million upon its release in 2015, so it’s entirely understandable if you don’t remember it.
The logline of the novel, which was originally published in 2009, states: “Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in the famous 1985 ‘Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.’ She survived—and famously testified that her teenage brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, a pair of mother/daughter true crime ‘detectives’ locate a grownup Libby and pump her for details, believing that Ben is innocent. Libby, having spent her youth working the talk show circuit, hopes to once again turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings —for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist traps, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.“
Gillian Flynn will serve as the co-creator, writer, and co-showrunner of the Dark Places limited series, with Brett Johnson (Escape at Dannemora) also serving as co-showrunner, co-creator, and writer alongside Guerrin Gardner (Chowchilla) as co-creator and writer. Flynn previously wrote and executive produced Sharp Objects for HBO, a limited series based on her novel of the same name, but she’s best known for the novel Gone Girl, which she adapted for David Fincher’s 2014 movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Our own Eric Walkuski reviewed the feature film adaptation of Dark Places nearly a decade ago but didn’t think that it lived up to Flynn’s novel. “Unfortunately, the witty, incisive voice of the book is lacking in the translation to the screen, as the film is a dour, overstuffed Lifetime movie masquerading as a serious thriller,” Walkuski wrote. “Screenwriter-Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner has a convoluted story to get through, and though it’s not an easy job touching on all of Flynn’s twists and turns, the movie is left ultimately feeling packed with endless details and exposition. This may have been one book best left on the shelf.” Hopefully, the limited series will prove to be the better adaptation, and that’s very likely considering Flynn is directly involved this time.