The Playlist producer Yellow Bird, a Banijay label, has optioned the rights for Alex Schulman’s hit novel The Survivors, with plans to adapt it into a feature film.
The adaptation will be written and directed by Swedish actor Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings, Westworld).
The Survivors has been sold to thirty-three countries and received critical acclaim around the world. At its core, The Survivors is a story about the impact of our past on our present. The book traces the journey of three brothers, Pierre, Nils and Benjamin to the lakeside cottage where they spent formative summers as children and where, over two decades before, a catastrophe changed the course of their lives.
It is a devastating story of a family falling apart and a chronicle of a mind unravelling in the wake of a tragedy. Told in dual narratives, with one timeline tracing backwards from the story’s dramatic finale and the other moving forward toward the inevitable moment of impact, this cyclical novel explores the relationship between siblings and the way in which the intimate bond of brotherhood opens up for the greatest betrayal of all.
Berna Levin, creative director for Yellow Bird UK, said: “Alex Schulman is an exceptionally talented writer – a master of creating complex, layered and deeply relatable characters and building worlds that feel immediately accessible and real.
“His novel, The Survivors, is singularly one of the most captivating books I have ever read and unflinchingly explores tragedy, redemption and forgiveness to breath-taking effect.
“While Gustaf Skarsgård, with decades of experience in front of the camera, is one of the most exceptional actors in the world – bringing humanity, intrigue and passion to every role. I know Gustaf will do a terrific job of adapting The Survivors to the screen in his directorial debut bringing his ability to deeply explore the human condition and will bring essential, raw energy to this exiting project.”
Alex Schulman said: “I am overjoyed, for several reasons. Because The Survivors, which is a very special book for me, is going to become a film. And also, because, through Yellow Bird UK, it is set to become an international production. I am so happy to be working with the producer Berna Levin, whom I have known for a long time and consider one of the very best in the industry. And of course: Gustaf. I worked with Gustaf at the Royal Dramatic Theatre and basically believe he is the very best actor, of them all. But perhaps even more fascinating is his vision about storytelling. I have come to realise that he is as obsessed with storytelling as I am and so it is a joy for me to leave him the job of translating this book to film.”
Gustaf Skarsgård, added: “There is a meltdown at the very nucleus of this story. A tremendous volatile force that the sharp, intricate narrative structure seeks to tame. This creates a tension field upon which the strong story unfolds, one vivid image at the time. The cinematic potential is enormous. I consider this an extension of the artistic journey I started with Alex during the rehearsals of the play. I came to realize how well synchronized we were in both taste and vision. And even thematically this story shares common ground with the play as they were conceived during the same period of his authorship. So this feels like a most natural evolution of a strong creative collaboration. And I’m truly excited to bring it to the screen.”
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