Tom Perrotta's novels are proving irresistible to Hollywood. First there was "Election," both funny and dark, and the much more serious "Little Children," for which Perrotta got an Oscar nomination. Now comes "The Leftovers," a new drama on HBO that makes its debut June 29.
The novel "The Leftovers," as book critic David L Ulin explained in our review, "unfolds in the wake of an event very much like the Christian belief in the Rapture and revolves around those left behind. That this Rapture -- the simultaneous evaporation of millions of people -- appears to have nothing to do with faith or goodness only adds another layer of uncertainty to the world Perrotta describes. 'As far as anyone could tell,' he writes, 'it was a random harvest, and the one thing the Rapture couldn't be was random .... An indiscriminate Rapture was no Rapture at all.'"
"The Leftovers" is set three years after this indiscriminate Rapture, the time at which people are getting back to their normal lives -- or not.
The series is being produced by Damon Lindelof, the co-creator of "Lost"; it's his first TV venture since that series ended. He told Entertainment Weekly how he got the project started:
"Stephen King wrote a review of 'The Leftovers,' which he described as the best episode of 'The Twilight Zone' that had never been shot .... I was completely and totally engaged by this idea. I ran and got the book immediately and I got maybe 50 pages in before I decided: This should be a television show and I need to collaborate with Tom [Perrotta] on that show. It took a year for things to sort themselves out but there was never any doubt as to like, 'Should this be my next project?' It was love at first sight."
Lindelof and Perrotta co-wrote the pilot, which is being directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights").