Chilean author Isabel Allende is far more than Jane the Virgin‘s favorite writer. Allende is an internationally acclaimed, best-selling author whose works are landmark titles in literature. Seriously, when Allende speaks, you all should listen. Hulu is definitely listening because after a supposedly contentious bidding war they’ve announced plans to adapt Allende’s 1982 novel The House of the Spirits into a TV series.
Allende will serve as executive producer on the series as the company starts the process of finding a screenwriter and director. The House of the Spirits is a multi-generational tale following the Truebas, a Chilean family that goes from rags to riches in their quest for love, money, and power. Along the way the family encounters elements of magical realism. Hollywood’s taken a stab at adapting the novel before. In 1993, director Billie August’s adaptation of the novel was released to theaters starring a non-Latino cast including Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, and Winona Ryder as the Truebas. The film was critically and commercially unsuccessful.
The House of the Spirits is definitely in need of another adaptation. The 1993 version is laughably bad, with Jeremy Irons in brownface making no attempt at covering his English accent. Streep and Ryder are as lily white as they come in their performances, and the only Spanish-speaking actors in the bunch, Antonio Banderas and María Conchita Alonso, stick out like a sore thumb. It’d be fantastic for this new take to actually get a Latino writer and director, if only to truly allow Allende’s magical realism and historical grandiosity to come through. The House of the Spirits is a sweeping novel that could benefit from a long-form television series, as opposed to a two-hour movie.
There’s no word now on any date for when The House of the Spirits could see a release.