Skin Trade: Another Creation By George R. R. Martin Headed For Screen

George R. R. Martin fans will be thrilled to know that another of his creations, the novella Skin Trade, may be headed for a Cinemax series. It’s not exactly a done deal yet, and Martin warns his readers that it’s not a sure thing, but the process is underway, and fans are, of course, hopeful.

George R. R. Martin announced on his Not A Blog Saturday that Cinemax had optioned the rights to the novella and ordered a script for a television pilot. Martin’s team has already selected a scriptwriter — Kalinda Vazquez, whose past work includes Prison Break, Nikita, and Once Upon A Time.

Martin says that he chose her from a number of possible writers because “…Kalinda’s take on the story and characters blew me away.”

Though he warns readers openly that the process of turning a book into a movie or television series isn’t exactly smooth and doesn’t always reach completion, Martin seems to have an optimistic outlook on the possibility, describing Vazquez’s pitch to of her script to the Cinemax team in glowing terms and saying that he always thought the story would do well on screen.

In fact, he notes, he tried to sell television producers on the story, which centers around a collections agent and werewolf named Willie Flambeaux and private detective Randi Wade, back in 1991, in a meeting that instead resulted in the 1993 TV movie Doorways.

According to Deadline, Mike the Pike Productions purchased the rights to the novel years ago and is developing the series along with Cinemax. George R. R. Martin will be an executive producer on the project. He says he would have loved to write the script himself, but that he’s got other things on his plate.

“I have this book to finish. You know the one.”

The novella clearly lends itself well to adaptation for different formats. It has already seen success in several forms: first as one story in the collection Night Visions 5, along with three Stephen King stories and three by Dan Simmons, then as a stand-alone novella, followed by an illustrated edition, a comic miniseries, and a graphic novel.

Geoge R. R. Martin's Skin Trade originally published in Night Visions

It also seems that some of George R. R. Martin’s readership, and werewolf aficionados, have been waiting for the story to be adapted into film for years: Shock Till You Drop posted about the possibility of a movie version back in 2011, when fans were already hoping the success of Game of Thrones would help launch this project to screen.

In 2009, when Mike the Pike picked up the rights,and the comic book miniseries and graphic novel were in development, George R. R. Martin described the story on his Not A Blog.

“The novella is a horror/ mystery cross set in a decaying rustbelt city and featuring a hot young female private eye and a hypochondriac lycanthrope, how that for high concept?”

The Skin Trade won a World Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 1989.

Unfortunately for those who’d like to read the story before the series appears, the original collection and novella are a bit hard to find. A few third-party sellers on Amazon do have used copies available. The Skin Trade was also included in another collection in 2010. It’s called Werewolves and Shapeshifters and also includes stories by Charlaine Harris, Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, and others. That collection is available new at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon also has used copies from third-party sellers. The graphic novel, at least, is widely available, though.

George R R Martin's Skin Trade available in Graphic Novel

If all goes well and Cinemax accepts the script, perhaps George R. R. Martin fans can hope for a reprinting of the stand-alone novella in the time before the series makes it to screen.

[Photo by: Frederick Brown/Getty Images]