Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman is set to write the screenplay for a movie version of Japanese author Yōko Ogawa’s Kirkus-starred dystopian novel, The Memory Police, according to Deadline. Emmy-winning director Reed Morano will helm the upcoming film, and also serve as its producer.
The novel, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature, was first published in Japanese in 1994; its English translation by Stephen Snyder was published last year. It tells the story of a writer on an island where a mysterious force causes inhabitants to awaken each day with no memory or knowledge of certain things, be they “objects as mundane as stamps, valuable as emeralds, omnipresent as birds, or delightful as roses,” according to our review. The titular police force then removes all traces of the forgotten objects from the island; they also remove anyone who’s unable to forget—or who rebels against the system. Kirkus’ reviewer noted that “Ogawa employs a quiet, poetic prose to capture the diverse (and often unexpected) emotions of the people left behind.”
Kaufman most recently wrote and directed a Netflix film that loosely adapted Iain Reid’s Kirkus-starred 2016 psychological thriller, I’m Thinking of Ending Things. He won an Academy Award for his screenplay for 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. His debut novel, Antkind, was published in July and also received a Kirkus Star.
Morano received an Emmy for directing “Offred,” the pilot episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, the Hulu TV series based on the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel. She also directed the excellent, critically underrated 2020 spy thriller The Rhythm Section, based on the 1999 novel by Mark Burnell. She’s set to direct and co-executive produce an upcoming Amazon Prime Video miniseries of Naomi Alderman’s Kirkus-starred 2017 SF novel, The Power.
Amazon Studios is producing the upcoming film of The Memory Police; it’s unclear, at this stage, whether it will be released theatrically or go straight to the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. No casting news or prospective release date has been announced yet.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.