Fans of Octavia Butler have long desired to see the author’s written words come to life on the big or small screen and, finally, those prayers have been answered. This week Deadline announced Allen Bain has made his company, Bainframe’s, first acquisition for television. “Bainframe has optioned rights to late-author Octavia E. Butler’s Dawn, the first book in what was known as the Xenogenesis volume, now the Lilith’s Brood collection.”
If you’re not familiar with this 1987 work from Butler, it’s a tale of a human race in danger of extinction whose only chance for survival is to mate with an alien species and create a new mixed race of people or die off altogether. Though the novel is science-fiction, the parallels between the choice the humans in the book had to make and decisions we make in society every day are apparent. That’s actually what drew Bain to the story to begin with.
He told IndieWire:
“I’m a first generation American from a family of immigrants. I have a connection to this country that my parents don’t, and so the makeup of this country is something I’m internally fascinated with. I think it’s an endemic theme in Lilith’s Brood, that you have all these people of different backgrounds coming together and they have to make a decision – are we going to stay together and be part of our own clan, or will we breed with these aliens and create an entirely new race?”
Asked how he will maintain the authenticity of the novel given the under-representation of people of color in the sci-fi genre, Bain added:
That’s hugely important to me, and I also want to stay true to Octavia Butler’s text. I don’t want to muddle it in any way. The lead of this book is an African-American female and the lead of the TV show should be the same. And I think it’s important to bring together a team behind the scenes that represents the multicultural aspects of the book, because that’s what the book is about…
In Lilith’s Brood, Lilith is the center of it and she’s surrounded by an ensemble. The way that I see the show would be an international and multicultural cast. I’m not saying that there wouldn’t be white characters on the show, but I don’t think making them leads for the sake of demographics and perceived notions of success makes any sense at all.
Sounds promising! Are you excited?
Image Credits: Bio.com/Duke/Nan Fuller