‘Sharp Objects’ Is the Perfect Gillian Flynn Novel to Get the Television Treatment

By  · Published on July 9th, 2014

Broadway Books

By the time 2014 closes out, fans of Gillian Flynn’s uniquely thrilling (and, typically, totally dark) novels will be doubly treated to a pair of new films based on her works. For an author who has so far only penned three books, that’s pretty handy work, but for awhile there, Flynn was going to be three for three in the feature adaptation department. Last summer, all of Flynn’s novels were in various states of cinematic production, with David Fincher’s Gone Girl enjoying the bulk of the hype (it’s certainly the most star-studded production of the trio), Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s Dark Places secure in a very respectable second place position and Sharp Objects just sort of hanging out in vague pre-production land.

Gone Girl will now hit theaters on October 3 (though the possibility that it will bow at TIFF in September seems like a safe enough bet), just a month after Dark Places releases (with a September 1 release date, it sure would be nice to see a trailer or something soon, cough cough), but what about that Sharp Objects movie? Turns out, there’s not going to be one – because it’s going to be a Sharp Objects television show. This is fantastic news.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Entertainment One Television is now turning Flynn’s debut into a one-hour serialized drama. Super-producer Jason Blum will executive produce the show (his Blumhouse was originally attached to the movie version of the book that’s never come to be) alongside Charles Layton and Flynn herself. Flynn has been quite involved with the adaptations of each of her books – remember the news that she was tweaking the last third of “Gone Girl” for Fincher and company? – but it’s still heartening news that she’s going to be in the trenches on this one. Even better? Marti Noxon will write the series and serve as its showrunner.

Noxon is a good fit for the project, as she has plenty of experience with both television in general and television that’s focused on compelling anti-heroes in particular (her resume includes work on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Private Practice, Mad Men, Glee and Grey’s Anatomy, and she recently cooked up no less than two new shows – Bravo’s Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce and Lifetime’s Un-Real). Her film credits aren’t as, well, seamless as her television work, and include titles like Fright Night and I Am Number Four. She’s also currently working on a new Tomb Raider, though, and that could certainly turn into something good.

Flynn’s first novel is a bit messier than her subsequent books – and it’s nowhere near as tightly wound as “Gone Girl” – but it has its own special charms, trademark Flynn twists and a deep darkness that’s hard to shake. It’s the Flynn novel that I find myself thinking about the most, although I would say that I like both “Gone Girl” and “Dark Places” more, but there’s a power to “Sharp Objects” that’s quite memorable.

Last summer, I explained the book’s plot, tone and feel as follows: “If Amy Dunne is unhinged and Libby Day is crazed, Camille Preaker is just genuinely bonkers. While ‘Sharp Objects’ came first, it would be easy to cannibalize pieces of both ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Dark Places’ to make up a Frankenstein’s monster version of ‘Sharp Objects.’ This is, weirdly, a great thing. Reporter Camille hasn’t been back to her small town in years – and for a good reason, her entire family is nuts and Camille is already psychologically unwell – but after two little girls show up dead there, a still-recovering-from-a-psych-ward-stay Camille goes in to investigate. That was probably a mistake. Sure, Amy and Libby have secrets to spare, but there’s something uniquely engaging about Camille and her hidden truths.”

Camille is a hell of character, and turning such a twisted heroine into a television mainstay is exciting news – she’s a true female anti-hero that could fit in pretty neatly beside the Don Drapers and Walter Whites of the world, with her own special mania to drive both her and the series. We can’t wait to see what a weekly serialized Sharp Objects looks like (and who will play the deeply troubled Camille).

There will surely be some kinks to work out along the way, mainly because “Sharp Objects” has a very definite ending (and, no, that’s not a way of saying that everyone dies or something, we promise), but there’s some wiggle room there – especially if Sharp Objects the show will put a tighter focus on Camille and her investigative skills, versus being centered on this one particular case (the direction we expect they will go in).

“Sharp Objects” has plenty else to offer an audience, too, including a vivid setting (the home that Camille returns to, a sprawling and old-fashioned house, will surely play a large part in the show) and a giant cast of very memorable (and very messed up) characters.

Have you read “Sharp Objects”? Or other Flynn works? Do you have a favorite?