Cary Fukunaga Is Developing a Limited Series About the ’80s AIDS Epidemic and New York Gentrification


Indiewire reports that Cary Fukunaga — whose impressive directorial credits include the whole first season (and equally impressive: none of the second season) of True Detective, Beasts of No Nation, Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre — is now developing a new limited series based on Tim Murphy’s just (yesterday) released novel, Christodora, which Paramount TV optioned.

The book focuses on the inhabitants of one building in the historic East Village, from which it gets its title. (The Christodora was a symbol of municipal dysfunction — it was bought by the City of New York in the 40s but remained empty through the 50s — and then in the 60s became a milieu of rebellion, and it was said to have housed meetings for activist groups like the Black Panthers — and then ultimately in the late 80s, it became a symbol of gentrification, its yuppie residents disdained by rioters in Tompkins Square Park.) The book follows a group of young queer activists from the latter era through the four following decades — up to 2021, and focuses on a boy who’s adopted by an artist couple (Milly and Jared) and brought to live in the building. Per the book’s official synopsis, “As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they, in turn, to the wealthy residents of the crowded, glass-towered city of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them.”

Fukunaga’s not the only exciting name attached to the project — and in fact, his name is attached to the project only as a producer. Fukunaga is developing the series with frequent collaborators Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, both of whom will write, while Sachs plans to direct. Anyone who’s seen Keep the Lights On or Love Is Strange is already fully aware of Zacharias’ and Sachs’ meticulous and sensitive portrayal both of queer relationships and New York social structures.

Fukunaga said:

Christodora tells a compelling story of family, friendship, love, and loss that spans decades, but manages to fully immerse you in an important and difficult time in downtown Manhattan. Ira and Mauricio have already established themselves as masters of New York life viewed through unexpected lenses, and I’m very excited for them to bring their vision to this outstanding book.

Sachs, meanwhile, commented that because both he and Mauricio “lived through this period firsthand, [they] felt an immediate connection to the material, and are excited to bring this Dickensian narrative to life.”