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Amazon, Viola Davis adapting Octavia Butler's 'Wild Seed' for television

Amazon, Viola Davis adapting Octavia Butler's 'Wild Seed' for television
Octavia Butler was the recipient of multiple awards and honors in her lifetime, including Hugo and Nebula awards and a MacArthur Fellowship. (Milbert Orlando Brown / KRT)

Amazon is developing a series based on "Wild Seed," the 1980 novel by science fiction legend Octavia E. Butler.

The show is being produced by JuVee Productions, a Los Angeles company led by actors Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Deadline reported Tuesday. The screenplay will be written by acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor and Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu.

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"Wild Seed" is the fourth book, and the first chronologically, in Butler's acclaimed "Patternist" series of novels. The book follows two immortal beings from Africa: Doro, a murderous entity who takes over the bodies of his victims, and Anyanwu, a benevolent, shape-shifting healer.

The novel is one of the best known from Butler, the Pasadena-born author who died in 2006 of a stroke when she was 58.

The author was the recipient of multiple awards and honors in her lifetime, including Hugo and Nebula awards and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Davis, one of the adaptation's executive producers, said Butler's book "shifted her life." "It is as epic, as game-changing, as moving and brilliant as any science fiction novel ever written," she said in a statement. "Julius [Tennon] and I are proud to have this masterpiece in our hands. It fulfills our promise and legacy to be disrupters. Octavia Butler was a visionary and we look forward to honoring the scope of her work and sharing it with the world."

Okorafor and Kahiu, who are also executive producers of the series, cited "Wild Seed" as their favorite Butler novel."'Wild Seed' stays with you," the writers said. "It’s a love/hate story of African immortals that connects people on the African continent to the Diaspora. It merges the mystical and the scientific seamlessly. You’re going to see shape-shifting, body-jumping, telepaths, people born with the ability to defy the laws of physics, all in the context of our past, present and future world."

"Wild Seed" isn't the only Butler novel destined for the small screen. Her 1987 novel "Dawn" is being adapted into a television series by director Ava DuVernay and actor-filmmaker Victoria Mahoney.

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