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Author Jason Mott's Debut 'High Concept' Novel 'The Returned' Heading To ABC, Thanks To Brad Pitt

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 13, 2012 12:31 PM
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Nice catch by "Jug" who alerted me to this yesterday, otherwise I probably wouldn't have caught it.

In short, author Jason Mott's debut novel, The Returned, is being developed as a TV drama series, to be produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B, for ABC.

Jason Mott

I mention this news because Jason Mott's a black man; and, in light of conversations we've had on this site about the dearth of novels by black authors adapted for the screen (big or small) here in the USA, this is obviously good news.

The novel won't be published until September 2013, however, so I obviously haven't read it, and I'm guessing no one has (well, except for those who are involved in the TV adaptation of it). 

Deadline says there was a bidding war for it among several production companies and studios, so it must be good, right? Or at the very least, it's probably something that's high concept.

What's The Returned about? A little digging revealed this synopsis:

A family gets caught up in a worldwide event in which loved ones return from the dead exactly as they last were in life. Lucille and Harold Hargrave wonder: Is their dead eight-year-old son’s return a miracle or an impending sign of something horrible? 

Mott says the story was inspired by several things - from reading literary classics like The OdysseyI Am Legend, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Lord Of The Flies, as well as and comics and graphic novels, to sci-fi movies like Soylent Green, to a dream he had two years ago, which stayed with him.

I'm sure you're all wondering if the characters in Mott's novel are black as well; well, I don't know. Nothing confirmed or rejected that.

I did find Mott on Twitter, so I'm going to reach out to him for an interview - not only about whether the characters are black, but I'm also very curious about how the debut novel of an author gets the attention of Brad Pitt (almost a year before it's published), and a major broadcast network in ABC.

The kid on the book cover is obviously white, but that doesn't mean anything in the book publishing world, where we've seen books about black characters written to reach a wideer audience, not feature a black person on the cover, for fear of affecting sales.

By the way, Mott is a published poet and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

I found the below video of him reaing some of his poetry at a gathering in Virginia:

As Was Written- Jason Mott from Murderbird Media on Vimeo.

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  • kad | January 20, 2014 10:33 PMReply

    um.... he COMPLETELY COPIED AND PLAGIARISED the French series based on a previous series right down to the title!!! How is that allowed to happen? Isn't plagiarism illegal especially at this level?????

  • Ana | March 30, 2014 7:02 PM

    Thank you! This is exactly what I thought. I had been thinking the show "Resurrection" was based on the French show "The Returned" from 2012 (based on the French FILM "Les Revenants" from 2004) ... then today I read an article about Jason Mott and I was like "huh?" Don't really get why no one else is talking about this ...

  • Ann Rausch | December 2, 2013 11:44 AMReply

    Excellent book - can't wait for the series :)

  • Jane | August 8, 2013 6:50 AMReply

    It's an adaptation of the 2004 film They Came Back (in French titled Les Revenants), not of this book.

  • Amber | June 29, 2013 8:42 PMReply

    There's already a TV adaption if this novel, "Les Revenants" by Canal+
    It's so beautifully plotted, composed, directed...I doubt ABC will be able to beat it, sadly
    I'm sure it will turn into a dumbed down version of the novel and be really
    Sci-Fi and cheesy. I wish America didn't always have to ruin a good thing!!!

  • Ana | March 30, 2014 7:04 PM

    Amber, "Les Revenants" is NOT an adaptation of the novel. "Les Revenants" came out looooooong before this novel was written. So, hmmmm ... ?

  • bondgirl | December 15, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    Reminds me of a favorite Twilight Zone episode. Will look out for it...thanks Jug!

  • Tamara | December 13, 2012 3:52 PMReply

    Interesting. Thanks for the heads-up. I look forward to the interview.

  • sandra | December 13, 2012 1:44 PMReply


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