Janicza Bravo, whose new film Zola has been widely praised, is already looking ahead to her next project. She’s been tapped to direct FX’s adaptation of Octavia E. Butler‘s classic novel, Kindred.
Butler’s book is a sci-fi novel that takes place in 1976 Los Angeles and follows a young aspiring Black writer named Dana as she finds herself bouncing back in time to a pre-Civil War Maryland plantation. The novel inspects the dynamic between a 1970s educated woman, aware of America’s dark history that’s still being felt today, with the dilemmas, struggles, and brutality of slavery.
The novel was published in 1979. Branden Jacob-Jenkins (HBO’s Watchmen) will write the screenplay, and Bravo’s adaptation will star newcomer Mallori Johnson.
Prior to Zola, Bravo directed the offbeat comedy Lemon while also helming episodes of In Treatment, Atlanta and Mrs. America. The latter two are also FX productions, so the network already has a relationship with her.
Bravo said of the adaptation: “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.”
Considering that Kindred has long been considered a classic, and has been frequently chosen for reading programs and book clubs, as well as being a common choice for high school and university courses, it’s incredible it’s taken this long for it to be adapted into film or TV. That wait means Bravo’s version will have some pressure on it, but thus far in her career she’s proven she can handle it.