HBO is Adapting Michael Crichton’s Trippy Novel Sphere

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Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures

After its recent success with its reimagined version of Westworld, HBO is getting ready to adapt another of Michael Crichton’s works: Sphere. According to Deadline, Westworld writer and producer Denise Thé to adapt the novel as a series.

The book follows a team of scientists who are dispatched to a deep-sea research facility, where the U.S. Navy discovered a massive spacecraft sitting on the bottom of the ocean.

Deadline reports that Thé will act as showrunner, and is working with Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan’s Kilter Films, as well as Susan Downey and Robert Downey Jr.’s Team Downey and Warner Bros. Television for the project.

The novel is a particularly trippy thriller from Crichton, who died in 2008. The U.S. Navy discovers a spacecraft on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and dispatches a team to study it. Right off the bat, they discover that the spacecraft is from Earth, but also that it’s been sitting on the ocean floor for more than 350 years, leading them to believe that it traveled back in time. When they get onboard the ship, they discover a massive spherical object, which looks as though it’s alien in origin.

While the team copes with the intense pressure of their work environment, one team member enters the sphere, and soon after, they come into contact with an apparently alien entity—calling itself Jerry—that can manifest their fears in reality.

The book was adapted as a film in 1998 (pictured above), and starred Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone, Liev Schreiber, and Peter Coyote, which wasn’t well received by critics or audiences.

Now HBO will have a crack at it, and the premise of the novel—first contact with an advanced intelligence in a hostile environment—feels as though it would make for a gripping series. With Westworld, the network took significant liberties with the original source material, exploring the grim possibilities of the future of artificial intelligence, and it feels like a similar approach would open up a number of possibilities that went unexplored in Sphere‘s original novel.



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