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Chronicle writer to adapt Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels for TV

Max Landis, the writer responsible for the 2012 found-footage superhero film Chronicle, will adapt the world of British author Douglas Adams’ “holistic detective” Dirk Gently for a potential television series.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Landis will partner with production company Circle of Confusion and IDW Entertainment to bring the quirky character to television, with a new comic book series based on Dirk Gently’s adventures also included in the deal. Adams’ surreal sci-fi comedy series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is widely considered the author’s greatest work, but his series of novels starring “holistic detective” Dirk Gently is often regarded as his most mainstream-friendly project.

“Douglas Adams himself always maintained that his Dirk Gently novels had much greater dramatic potential than his better known Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series,” said Ed Victor, Douglas Adams’ longtime agent and friend, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter accompanying the announcement. “I think he is about to be proven right — yet again.”

In Adams’ novels, the detective known as Dirk Gently is a firm believer in the “fundamental interconnectedness of all things” with occasional psychic predilections and a knack for getting caught up in wild investigations that often start out small but — because everything is fundamentally interconnected — often have far greater implications. The first novel, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, quickly became a bestseller when it was published in 1987, and Adams’ soon followed with a sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul, in 1988. A third novel, The Salmon of Doubt, was planned but often delayed, only to be left unfinished when Adams’ died in 2001. His incomplete work on the novel and various other essays were later published posthumously as The Salmon Of Doubt.

The Dirk Gently novels were adapted into a series of radio and stage plays in subsequent years, as well as a short-lived BBC television series in 2010.

“Douglas Adams is a visionary who forever changed the way science fiction is written and talked about and even thought about and even the way real actual science is thought about and without whom our culture would be noticeably different for the worse. I’d also just like to say holy crap, it’s Dirk Gently,” said Landis in a statement about the deal. “This is any writer’s ultimate project, and in the current TV space, it fits ridiculously well. Imagine a playground where you could come with any mystery, no matter how improbable, convoluted or totally insane and then, simply by finding the right connections, you could tie it all down to one man, one private eye. If you’re familiar with the property, you know: there’s no freaking rules. Ancient gods? Sure. Larceny and petty crimes? Of course. Extra-dimensional aliens? I mean, probably; as long as you can make it funny, Dirk’s on the case. This is a dream project of mine, no joke, and I absolutely positively couldn’t be happier.”

There’s currently no timetable for the Dirk Gently series to go into production.

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