Brow Beat

Devastating Novel A Little Life to Be Adapted as a Limited Series. Who Should Play Jude?

Rami Malek

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Before it mysteriously disappeared, a bombshell post went up on the Facebook page for Hanya Yanagihara’s sweeping, shattering novel A Little Life. According to Flavorwire, the post said:

I’m very happy to say that ALL has been optioned by the producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, The Grand Budapest Hotel, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, etc.) and the amazing theater director Joe Mantello (Wicked, The Humans, Blackbird, Assassins, Love! Valour! Compassion!, etc.) as a limited series. Now it just has to be sold to a network or streaming service — and we’ll let you know when or if it is. Thank you, as always, for all of your interest and your love for the boys, and keep your fingers crossed! (Also, who should play Jude?) — HY

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Now, that post is gone. Gone like the youthful innocence of the 2015 epic’s four main characters: Jude, Malcolm, Willem, and J.B. But! A Twitter account for A Little Life (one not associated with Yanagihara herself) linked to an Instagram post with the same tantalizing message.

So, while things may still be up in the air, it appears that the most wrenching, miserable work of art to destroy readers’ mental well-being over the past few years is possibly bringing its feels to network television. How will a limited series handle the wandering, decades-spanning narrative? Will it shy away from visually representing the book’s lurid set pieces of torture and abuse?  Also, who should play Jude?

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To that last point, the novel’s social media followers have a few suggestions. Eddie Redmayne is a big favorite (though he strikes me as too blond and lanky for the meek, dark-haired lawyer). Also Joseph Gordon-Levitt (what), Rami Malek (I can see it!), Richard Armitage (not enough anguish), Ezra Miller (too effervescent), and Jack Falahee (maybe). For waiter-turned-shining-Hollywood-star Willem, the internet smartly recommends Lee Pace or Matt Bomer. And for the boys’ mentor Harold, there have been calls for Mandy Patinkin, Bob Odenkirk, or Bryan Cranston.

Or maybe the whole cast should simply be played by sad-face emojis, big-eyed cartoon fawns, or Claymation figures gradually worn into powder by the ravages of time, fate, and human cruelty.

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