Think back to the first time you saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (Unless you've never seen it, or it's been too long, or your memories have been swiped.) The mind-bending Charlie Kaufman/Michel Gondry project was released over a decade ago, but Hollywood hasn't forgotten about the story of Joel and Clementine: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will be turned into a TV series, which is amazingly exciting news. The film is a total classic. As for what Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind TV series will be about, though, and how it will differ from the original 2004 film, that remains to be seen: I'd say ask Kaufman or Gondry, but, turns out, they are actually not attached to the project. Back to square one.
The 2004 film's backwards narrative centers on the love story of two exes played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. The past lovers stand still on a frozen shore, but we are taken back through the highs and lows of their relationship, up until their initial encounter, only to learn that the two have participated in a treatment that's allowed them to erase all memories of one another. This facet of the story rests on Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), a man who runs a service that offers to clear out portions of your mind, leaving you with new, blank real estate where old, tangled memories used to be.
Eternal Sunshine’s power revolves around the performances from the cast, the poetic visuals of the memory erasure act, and the script that ever so delicately balances suffering and romance without ever seeping into cloying territory. However, it seems that hardly anyone involved in the original film (other than one producer, Steve Golin) has returned for the TV series. Writer Zev Borow (Chuck, Fox's Lethal Weapon adaption) will pen the script, and a director has not yet been attached as the show is still in its early stages.
The question of how Eternal Sunshine the TV version will differ from the movie can be inferred those facts, and by the simple premise of platform. A film to TV transition takes some careful reassembling. Without Kaufman writing and Michel Gondry's direction, Eternal Sunshine will look, sound, and feel alternate — not to mention the storyline has to go through a conversion to episodic narrative. Additionally, without Winslet's unapologetic rainbow-haired Clem and Carrey's tired, hapless Joel, and even without the supporting cast (Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo have an incredible and equally heartbreaking subplot), the TV series has some big shoes to fill. That's not to say the feat is impossible, of course — whereas the medium of film can sometimes monopolize mood and atmosphere, the medium of TV has extra hours to tease out character development. The adaptation could shine with the latter.
Given how spectacular the movie is, the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind TV series could be the type of show we remember long after its off the air — as long as it remains interested in cultivating its own memories.
Images: Focus Features; Giphy