Shutter Island is one of the odder movies in director Martin Scorsese’s canon, and I can’t help but get a little excited that he’s potentially returning to that world for a planned HBO series.
According to Deadline, the Goodfellas and Gangs of New York director is in talks with the network and Paramount to adapt Shutter Island for TV, with Scorsese directing the pilot episode from a script by novelist Dennis Lehane.
The series is tentatively being called Ashecliffe, named after the psychiatric hospital in Lehane’s novel which provided inspiration for 2010’s Shutter Island. The film starred Leonardo DiCaprio as a cop investigating a murder at an isolated island mental facility while grappling with his own personal demons. The series would be set before the events of the film, looking at the creation of Ashecliffe as well as some of the doctors who developed the treatments used at the facility. If it keeps the tone of the film that inspired it, Ashecliffe could be a grounded take on something like American Horror Story: Asylum.
Say what you will about the ending, the film was an interesting exercise in playing with horror tropes and the haunted asylum. What that could translate into on TV is anyone’s guess – at this point, after the success of shows like Fargo, I’m just going to give up being suspicious of long-form adaptations of features.
If Scorsese does pick up the directing gig here, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s directed a pilot at HBO: he also helmed the first episode of Boardwalk Empire (which he produced).