The classic novel The Great Gatsby is no stranger to film adaptation, but in a first for the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, ITV Studios America and A+E Studios are teaming up to turn the story into a limited series for television. There's no word on where it's going to air yet, but network TV seems to be out as premium cable and streamers are the distribution platforms being eyed at this time. Michael Hirst (Vikings, The Tudors, Elizabeth) is signed on to write and executive produce along with Michael London (Milk, Sideways) for Groundswell Productions. Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter Blake Hazard (also trustee of the estate and works) will act as a consulting producer.
As of January 1, 2021, The Great Gatsby entered the public domain, meaning adaptations no longer have to purchase the rights to use the material in a modern capacity. However, A+E previously held the rights for television adaptations of The Great Gatsby, which they previously utilized in 2000 made-for-TV film starring Paul Rudd, Mira Sorvino, and Toby Stephens.
The series adaptation has been in development for several years, with Apple TV being attached to develop it at one point before parting ways with the project. Series creator Hirst has this to say on his new series, "I seem to have lived with 'Gatsby' most of my life, reading it first as a schoolboy, later teaching it at Oxford in the 1970s then re-reading it periodically ever since. …Today, as America seeks to reinvent itself once again, is the perfect moment to look with new eyes at this timeless story, to explore its famous and iconic characters through the modern lens of gender, race, and sexual orientation. Fitzgerald's profoundly romantic vision does not prevent him examining and exposing the darker underbelly of the American experience, which is why the story speaks to both tragedy and hope, and why it continues to resonate today."
That timeless 'American experience' is what Hirst hopes to explore in his Great Gatsby series, with the show being set in the 1920s jazz and musical culture of the Black community. Farah Jasmine Griffin, professor of African-American Studies and English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University will serve as a consultant on the series. She is also an author and collaborator of several books and projects centering around the Black community in the jazz age. There is still no director or cast attached to The Great Gatsby television series at this time.