The Wrap is reporting that HBO, after a few months working on development for the WWII period piece ‘Hobgoblin,’ has decided to turn down the project. The proposed series, co-written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon (‘Wonder Boys’) and his wife Ayelet Waldman, is about a gang of magicians and conmen who use their skills and deceit to battle Hitler and the Nazis.
HBO’s decision on the project may be due to Darren Aronofsky (‘Requiem for a Dream,’ 'The Wrestler') leaving the director's chair. Aronofsky was slated to helm the pilot episode of ‘Hobgoblin,’ much like Martin Scorsese did with much success for HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ Aronofsky’s departure could very well be related to his full slate of upcoming movie projects, and isn't necessarily due to a lack of interest in the script.
The project is not dead yet though. Reports indicate FX is interested in the potential for a series and may be currently in negotiations.
While some have compared the concept to Quentin Tarantino’s over-the-top ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ Chabon’s project seems inspired by the story of British stage magician Jasper Maskelyne. After joining the Royal Engineers, Maskelyne led a small group of men, where he taught them techniques for camouflage and escape.
HBO’s decision to pass is no indication that ‘Hobgoblin’ is weak; they also turned down ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Walking Dead’ in the past. Such is the nature of the business.