According to the National Radio and Television Administration, a new TV series called The Three-Body Problem, an adaptation of Hugo and Nebula award winner Liu Cixin’s epic sci-fi trilogy, is about to start filming this September. Produced by Chinese film company YooZoo Pictures, the TV series is said to contain altogether 24 episodes, with a total production period of 12 months.
According to the brief introduction written in the production record, the story starts from the first book of the trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past, which sets the story in China during the cultural revolution era, with scientists committing suicide due to involvement with the mysterious society Frontiers of Science.
The Shanghai-based company, YooZoo Pictures claims to be a film studio of the new internet era, aiming to launch Chinese IP onto the world stage. The studio initially planned to make a film adaptation of the sci-fi novel, but the project was unfortunately terminated due to unknown reasons. The company also participated in the production of The Crossing : Part 1, a low-rating blockbuster by Hong Kong director Yusen Wu.
Making movie adaptations of successful literary works is generally a recipe for success, and many players want to get involved. Financial Times reported last year that Amazon also showed interest in adapting the trilogy. The giant is said to be investing $1 billion, aiming to make it another “Game of Thrones”.
Earlier this year, another adaptation of Liu’s novel, The Wandering Earth, achieved massive success. According to the media, the project has attracted a total investment of around $50 million. However, the Three Body Problem is on a different level compared to The Wandering Earth in terms of the sophistication of the story. The trilogy not only discusses profound concepts in astrophysics including black holes and quantum communication, but also created a multidimensional utopia on a philosophical level.
During a meetup between James Cameron and Liu Cixin in February, James Cameron stressed that science is the basis of hard sci-fi creation. When mentioning the adaptation of the trilogy, Liu said, “It is normal that it takes a long time for the adaption of the Three-Body Problem. It is a bit difficult for Chinese filmmakers to adapt in terms of story line and visual effects considering our current experience and abilities in this industry.” James Cameron, director of Avatar teased about the idea of “development hell”. “I recommend you to manage your expectations, because the movie industry is bizarre, and downright dumb. You might have created something that’s a little too intelligent for them.”
“I wish HBO or Netflix could make this” One Chinese three-body problem fan commented online upon hearing the news. With the current film production capability, China might need some Hollywood blood to help the process.