Cary Fukunaga has been plenty busy with his latest feature Beasts of No Nation since the first season of HBO’s True Detective earned him an Emmy, but the talented director has also been planning his return to television. Earlier this year, it was announced that Fukunaga would once again team with True Detective producer Anonymous Content for an adaptation of Caleb Carr’s historical fiction novel, The Alienist, as an event series for TNT.
But whereas Fukunaga directed all eight episodes of True Detective, he might give up some control for the planned 10-episode run of The Alienist. Speaking with EW for a preview of Beasts of No Nation as a part of our Fall Movie Preview, Fukunaga shared some details about the project — which follows a young Theodore Roosevelt as he hunts for a serial killer in New York City with the help of a psychologist — and explained that it might be tough for him to tackle the show solo.
“When you prep a feature film, you usually take seven to 10 weeks if you’re lucky. The longer the better, and that’s only for 100 or 110 pages of material,” Fukunaga says. “Once you start getting into hundreds of pages, you need a separate pre-production within the production, which makes things really expensive because you’re basically holding the crew for that time, which television often operates more with multiple directors. If I were to direct the whole thing, I would probably break it up into two or three parts, almost as if it was two or three movies, and then prep them in that way.”
Another option that Fukunaga is considering is taking on a directorial partner, something he’s never done before, but an arrangement that he thinks could work. “At least we could hop-scotch and help each other out and really approach it in the same spirit of a film, which is collaboration,” Fukunaga says. “They’re equal with you in terms of executing it.”
How the show is made will depend on what kind of scripts Hossein Amini (Drive) turns in, but one thing is clear: Fukunaga’s bosses would love to see him tackle the show on his own. “They would like that,” he says with a laugh.
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