If proof were needed that we are indeed living in a golden age of television, it just arrived. Warner Bros Television has snapped up the rights to adapt the popular novel The Nix for the small screen, and has lined up the man that successfully resuscitated the Star Wars franchise – J.J Abrams – to shepherd the project. He will not be doing so alone, however, as the most Oscar-nominated actor in history – Meryl Streep – is also on board.
The combination of Abrams and Streep is a goose-bump inducing prospect, and sends a very clear message about the calibre of the source material. The book upon which this limited series will be based is the debut novel of Nathan Hill, and explores the estranged relationship between a son and his mother – as explained on Goodreads.
“A hilarious and deeply touching debut novel about a son, the mother who left him as a child, and how his search to uncover the secrets of her life leads him to reclaim his own.”
What makes the story of The Nix intriguing is the perspective from which it is told. The son – Samuel Andresen-Anderson – is leading a somewhat tedious, unfulfilling life, when he sees his estranged mother on a news report. She is the focus of attention for throwing rocks at a politician in protest, and is soon feted by the wider media as a social hero, of sorts. This triggers a great deal of resentment in Samuel, and he plots to have his revenge by writing a no-holds-barred book about her – uncovering unexpected truths in the process.
This is a glorious premise that works on a number of levels. The mother-son dynamic is explored, along with child abandonment and the legacy that creates. But there is also the perspective of the mother, Faye, to be explored. As Samuel digs into her past and discovers that she is, in truth, an entirely different person than the one his personal experience had led him to assume she was, we find that her narrative is not the simple version he had previously ascribed to her. There is also the theme of resentful men trying to destroy ambitious women – whatever justification seems to befit the act.
Meryl Streep is involved as producer, alongside J.J Abrams, as well as being signed on to star. Presumably, she will take the role of Faye – and I for one cannot wait to see what the greatest actress of her generation will do with the chance to craft a complicated character over the course of a number of episodes. Just how many episodes there will be remains unknown at this point, and we don’t yet know who will be adapting the novel for the screen, either. It has been suggested that Abrams may direct some of the series, though, giving further indication of the significance of the project.
The Nix is clearly still in the early stages of development, but so far, everything points to this being a very special television event, when it finally arrives on the small screen. The big question now is, who will play Samuel, son of Streep? We’ll be watching very closely for further announcements.