HBO Turns Down Chabon's 'Hobgoblin'

Michael Chabon

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.Darren Aronofsky

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.    

- FX
- Michael Chabon
- Darren Aronofsky
- Hobgoblin

Written by: Robert_Steele
Jun 19th, 2013, 5:15 pm

Images courtesy of HBO


Level 1 (67%)
Points: 1.2
Since: 02/Jan/09
Message Posted On Jun 23rd, 2013, 12:19 pm

Yeah, that makes sense.  There are so few directors in TV.  Eye roll.  So, "Chabon’s project seems inspired by the story of British stage magician Jasper Maskelyne".  Well, is it?  Where did Robert Steele get that info?

I don't think they're passing on this because the director they wanted passed on it.  I think HBO realized after working on it for a few months that this is, barely, a one-trick pony.  They could fill a pilot with mainly background on the characters, then what?  In episode 2, the "magicians and conmen" (oy vey) trick the engineer of the train delivering new "residents" to Bergen Belsen, in a game of strip poker, so that he trips on the underwear around his ankles, thus is off-schedule by 3 minutes...??  Well, that WOULD be a shootable offense in Germany. 



Level 4 (22%)
Points: 263.4
Since: 22/Aug/12
Message Posted On Jun 19th, 2013, 7:15 pm

Chabon is an amazing writer. "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" remains one of the best novels I've ever read. The guy researches endlessly--any period piece from him would be flawlessly accurate. 

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