Having as high a regard and reverence as the novel, House of Leaves has, it would seem eminent that television would try and swallow it whole, regurgitating some vague semblance of the experience so many of us have, and still are going on.
Mark Z. Danielewski is having none of that.
A short month ago, first in a Facebook discussion group, then to the wider world, Danielewski revealed a pilot script for a recently defunct attempt at bringing House of Leaves to the small streaming screen. Disagreement abound, the project (for now?) has come to a halt, but the germ of the idea has been planted.
Fans and critics alike have been swept up in the unsurprisingly ambitious turn that the pilot script has taken. Much like current “peak” television, Danielewski has crafted a pilot that is beyond description. Distilling the tones contained in which is sure to go down as his Magnum Opus, MZD shows a deft hand at mediums beyond literature ad photography.
For those familiar, MZD has been hard and fast on “if you want to see the movie, read the book.”
In a recent interview with @birthmoviesdeath, MZD revealed why he’s taken to finally showing us the darker corners of the non-existent film within the book. Sparked by the resurgence of television as a serious medium, he crafted the script in an attempt to perhaps finally show us the unknowable terror and emotion that reside on Ash Tree Lane and beyond.
Although the deal with a “big streaming service” has come to a halt, we are left with the script that turns the original content on its head in an entirely respectable and even welcome way.
Without going to much into detail, I can say that the script, while disturbing to me as an ardent fan of the experience of the book and how it stands out against most others as unique and unchallenged, has breathed new life into an already lively monster, unchanged and wholly new, just as Mark would have it.
I cannot wait to see what comes next, perhaps more episode scripts, or the eventual star-alignment of perfectly placed collaborators to honor the work as it is meant to be seen.
You can read the pilot script here:
More to come as it materializes.