Between a weed dispensary comedy starring Kathy Bates, a weed dispensary comedy starring Margaret Cho, a weed dispensary comedy from Adam Scott, and HBO’s HBO-ified upcoming version of High Maintenance, weed television, especially of a lighthearted order, would seem to be surging. With its legalization and destigmatization in certain places, there’s an emphasis on the fact that you don’t have to be a Nancy Botwin, getting too deep into all sorts of sensationally illegal things, in order to thrive in the business — or on TV. But now, more unprecedentedly, we’re getting a weed drama— and one that deals with how changes in the industry might affect a family who’s been used to the illegality of it all for decades. And who better for it to star than the intense, dramatically chill John Malkovich? Well, maybe you can name some people, but it’s moot, because, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s starring.
The series is based on Emily Brady’s book, Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier, and it was organized by Sony Pictures Television and penned on spec by Love and Mercy writer Michael A. Lerner for the production company behind True Detective and Mr. Robot (Anonymous Content). The intention is to soon shop it out to premium cable networks and the usual streaming services.
The 2013 book saw the author immersing herself in the tight-knit and somewhat secretive community of Humboldt County, California. Per the obviously generalizing official description of the book, Humboldt is “a place where business is done with thick wads of cash and savings are buried in the backyard,” and the book explores the fissure in the community between people who wanted to be able to publicly grow and have their work seen as legitimate and protected rather than threatened by the law, while others wanted to continue to profit from what illegality does to prices. (The legalization of recreational marijuana for adults will, incidentally, be on the California ballot in November.) “It’s the story of a small town that became dependent on a forbidden plant, and of how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream,” concludes the description. The series, simply titled Humboldt, will see Malkovich playing the patriarch of a family of Humboldt growers.