George R.R. Martin has plenty more works under his belt than just Game of Thrones and he’s reminding us of that with his next project. The author has just announced that Cinemax has optioned the rights to another one of his stories, The Skin Trade.
Martin announced the news himself on his blog, confirming that Cinemax (HBO’s sister company) has already ordered a pilot script based on the fictional tale, which, while lacking in dragons, features more than its fair share of werewolves. The Skin Trade was originally published in the 1980s as part of the horror anthology, Night Vision, and follows a private detective as he investigates various werewolf attacks. Since its initial release, the story has been reprinted as a standalone novella several times and has also won the 1989 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. It’s also been adapted into a comic book series, as well as a graphic novel.
The screen adaptation has reportedly been in the works for quite some time. Martin previously pitched the idea to various forums back in 1991, to no avail. But the author continued to see on-camera potential in the story, writing, “I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade.” Now, the project may be getting a second shot.
Similarly to the book, Cinemax’s adaptation will chronicle the story of a collections agent who happens to be a werewolf and his friend, a private investigator. They discover a dark secret behind a series of grisly murders in their decaying industrial city. Kalinda Vazquez, whose previous credits include work on Prison Break and Once Upon a Time, has been tapped to handle the adaptation, script the pilot, and produce the show, should it eventually get green-lit.
According to Martin, Vazquez beat out close to a dozen other TV writers for the gig. “…Kalinda’s take on the story and the characters blew me away. She loves the story and the world, and really seems to get Willie and Randi, and her pitch to Cinemax was one of the most polished and professional I’ve ever heard,” he said of the choice.
For those wondering the obvious question, Martin specifically clarified that he himself wouldn’t be able to do any writing for the show. But as he pointed out, he’s busy with a certain other little project called The Winds of Winter. “… [W]hile I would have loved to write the script and run the show myself, that was never really in the cards,” he wrote. “I have this book to finish. You know the one.”
The Skin Trade isn’t a done deal yet. As Martin put it, “If [Cinemax] likes the script, we’ll shoot a pilot, and if they like that, hey, who knows, maybe we’ll get a series on the air.” We’ll have to stay tuned to see if the show makes it that far. In the meantime, Game of Thrones fans can rest easy knowing that The Winds of Winter is coming…and apparently, so are the werewolves.