What the world needs now is for December 16 to come already.
In anticipation of the December 16 release date, HBO Max has dropped the first teaser and photos for its limited series adaptation of the Emily St. John Mandel novel Station Eleven.
Set in a post-apocalyptic feature, the book, while released in 2014 was eerily prescient: it tells the story of the after effects of an uncontrolled, world-wide pandemic that takes down the entire world, until only pockets of humanity survive.
Meant to be set in the Great Lakes region of the United States, filming had started in January 2020, before it was shut-down by the real life pandemic. The production was moved from Chicago to Mississauga, Ontario, finishing in July this year.
Directed by Hiro Murai (Atlanta) and written by Patrick Sommerville (Made For Love), the adaptation’s teaser showed Himesh Patel (Yesterday, The Luminaries, Tenet), and Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Blade Runner 2049, Black Mirror). Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Babel) is also involved in a pivotal role that starts the entire novel rolling.
Unlike Ling Ma’s Severance (the other great pandemic novel of our time), Station Eleven focuses on the after: what happens at the end of the great collapse. Twitter discussion of the trailer went into overdrive: are we all pandemic—ed out? Will people want to watch this?
Fans of the book were also dismayed at the opening scene: Jeevan Chaudhary (Patel) and a little girl buying out a grocery, in a scene that is very familiar from the early days of COVID-19: the panic buying (thankfully, it seems they focused more on dried goods and not tissue paper).
Doesn’t it make it a little obvious, what is going on? As someone who read and loved the book, I don’t think so. It looks just like doomsday prep, and doesn’t necessarily scream “Pandemic.”
Another point of contention is the song choice: a slowed down version of What The World Needs Now is Love had people scratching their heads at the cloying sound, a clear callback to the effectiveness of Radiohead’s Creep in The Social Network trailer. As for this one, I remain neutral: it didn’t really matter to me.
So, are we all tired of the pandemic? We obviously are, but the book is more than that: the focus is on the afterwards, on how humanity and art survives the apocalypse. Art is a paean to survival, Mandel makes clear in her writing, which is why media dedicated to our current situation can only give us more hope to get through the day.