HBO clearly made one of the best decisions in the company’s history by beginning to develop Game of Thrones nearly a decade ago. Now that the show itself rests atop the zeitgeist’s throne, the network’s sister channel, Cinemax, seems aware of how much they’d benefit from the power of the name George R.R. Martin: they’ve ordered a pilot based on his werewolf-centric novella, The Skin Trade — first published in the 1989 horror compilation, Night Visions 5. (It appeared alongside works by Stephen King and Dan Simmons, and went on to win the 1989 World Fantasy award for Best Novella.)
The novella follows a private detective named Randi Wade, who begins having suspicions about the connection between the murder of her father 20 years ago and a series of recent, just-as-gross-as-anything-on-GOT murders in her town. The official synopsis says the story takes a turn “when a close friend suddenly becomes a target,” leading Randi to be “quickly pulled into a dark underworld where monsters exist and prey on the living.” EW reports that it’s being adapted by Once Upon a Time‘s co-executive producer, Kalinda Vazquez.
Martin said on his blog that he always thought it could become a TV show or a film (while warning that, despite being excited about the news, this is Hollywood and there’s always a possibility a pilot will never air). “Those of you who know the story of Doorways, my ill-fated ABC pilot from the early ’90s, may even recall that it was Skin Trade that I was actually trying to sell back in 1991, when I flew out to L.A. for a round of pitch meetings. So we’re a few decades late…” he wrote. He mentions how nearly a dozen TV writers were considered, and that Vazquez seemed, to him, the perfect fit to adapt his work:
Kalinda’s take on the story and the characters blew me away. She loves the story and the world, and really seems to get Willie and Randi, and her pitch to Cinemax was one of the most polished and professional I’ve ever heard. I love her enthusiasm, and look forward to working with her.
A Song of Ice and Fire devotees will be happy to hear that, despite this new project, he, too, is still just as devoted to the former. “And no,” he says, “While I would have loved to write the script and run the show myself myself, that was never really in the cards. I have this book to finish. You know the one.”