It’s been quite the year for big announcements from legendary author Anne Rice. First there was the news that her beloved Vampire Lestat would return to print after over a decade in this fall’s Prince Lestat. Then, there was the announcement that Universal Pictures had landed the rights to her Vampire Chronicles series for a big screen reboot. And now, maybe the most unexpected news of all, via a story appearing in the Hollywood Reporter: it appears that Rice’s famous (infamous?) trilogy of hardcore pornography, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, is coming to television of all places.
Televisa USA, the company that produces Lifetime’s Devious Maids series, has acquired the television and digital rights to all three books in the trilogy. Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club producer Rachel Winter approached Rice about developing the book series for television back in 2012, and is set to executive produce alongside Rice. On Rice’s Facebook page, she had this to say about the series: “I am delighted. Before the era of Game of Thrones, Spartacus, and The Borgias such a thing would have been unthinkable on TV. But we are now pushing boundaries, and originality is having its day.”
Originally published under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelaure from 1983-85, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release are set in a medieval fantasy world, where the sleeping princess is awakened by more than just a kiss… and it just keeps going from there. Rice herself once described the books as “the Disneyland of S & M.” That’s a pretty accurate description too; the Beauty trilogy features hardcore BDSM sex of every flavor, and makes 50 Shades of Gray look like an episode of The Brady Bunch.
Rice has always been quick to point out how these novels are pornography, as opposed to her lighter, yet still sexy fare like her novels Belinda and Exit to Eden, which she labeled “erotica.” With the Beauty books, there’s no mincing words, they’re porn (and proud of it.) How on Earth they plan to develop this as a series for television, even cable television, without totally watering it down is going to be quite a challenge, but I can’t wait to see how they try to pull it off.