Hivemind announced today it has partnered with writer/director Brian Taylor (Happy!, Crank) and European production company Kallisti for a new television series based on The Illuminatus! Trilogy (buy here). The sci-fi franchise was created by authors Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea and first introduced the concept of “the Illuminati” into the popular consciousness, while simultaneously fueling, deconstructing, and skewering America’s modern-day obsession with conspiracy theories.
In the story, when the offices of a Manhattan news publisher are bombed, anti-authority reporter George Dorn begins to suspect that the disturbing conspiracy his editor has spent months investigating is not only real, it might be the key to unlocking all of history’s greatest unanswered mysteries. As George sets out to find his mentor and uncover the truth about an all-seeing secret society that seems to unify every insane, inane, and outlandish conspiracy theory ever told — from the JFK assassination, celebrity cabals and lost continents to UFOs, ancient gods and the truth about the New World Order — he finds himself drawn deeper into a war between two shadowy groups. On one side stand the Discordians, a clandestine band of chaos-loving guerrilla fighters led by the enigmatic modern-day pirate Hagbard Celine; and on the other, the Illuminati – elite authoritarians who secretly manipulate world events, ever expanding their wealth, influence, and physical power in a plot to escape the limitations of human existence.
Illuminatus! will be executive produced by Dinesh Shamdasani and Hunter Gorinson for Hivemind, and Iris McPherson and Kirstin Winkler for Kallisti. Taylor will serve as executive producer and showrunner.
“Illuminatus! is a kind of mind-blowing literary miracle… It manages to be completely seminal while as relevant today — if not more so — than the day it was published,” said Taylor. “Wilson and Shea have created a fractal-like world of conspiracy inside conspiracy that completely anticipates today’s internet-fueled, Post-Truth culture.”
A globetrotting science-fiction/conspiracy thriller laced with subversive humor, Illuminatus! was first published in 1975 at the height of post-Watergate paranoia and has remained in print ever since. It has spawned nearly a dozen sequels and spin-offs, along with comic books, stage plays, radio productions, role-playing games, and more based on the original trilogy. In recent years, Kallisti has also developed an immersive Illuminatus! VR experience, exploring series’ many iconic characters and settings, that has exhibited at numerous arts and technology events in the United States and Europe.
“Since acquiring the rights to this wild and unique series, we have been working on an immersive experience around The Illuminatus! Trilogy and are thrilled to bring this beloved story to television. We couldn’t think of more ideal partners than Brian Taylor and Hivemind. The themes of this cult classic are more current than ever today, and we cannot wait to bring it to life,” said Kallisti partners Iris McPherson and Kirstin Winkler.
“The series’ staggering influence has only continued to grow with each passing year not just because it explores and indulges the most compelling depths of America’s conspiratorial imagination, but because it also gives us the tools and knowledge to understand it. If there was ever a series primed for 21st century television, it’s Illuminatus!” said Hunter Gorinson, Hivemind’s VP of Brand & Content Strategy.