Producers Eric Kopeloff and Philip Schulz-Deyle have optioned Hermann Hesse’s “Demian” and plan to adapt the novel into a feature film. Nick Kreiss (“Afraid”) has penned a screenplay with cinematographer Andre Lascaris (“About Alex”) and under the supervision of the Hesse estate.
The book was a bestseller in the U.S. and its story of spiritual enlightenment and self-discovery resonated first with readers in the post-World War I period and then later with members of the American counterculture of the 1960s, who embraced the novel yet again. It found favor with the likes of Timothy Leary and Colin Wilson, who became enthusiastic boosters of the Hesse canon. Kopeloff thinks the time is ripe for a new generation to rediscover “Demian.”
“We’re living in a digital age, where a lot of our lives are dictated by social media,” he says. “There’s an externalization of identity. This story is a fresh contrast. It’s about introspection and that’s a welcome kind of journey for people to embark upon.”
“During the pandemic, a lot of people have been forced to reexamine ourselves and to look inward,” Kopeloff adds. “That makes this feel as relevant to this time as it was 100 years ago.”
The novel focuses on a young boy named Emil Sinclair, who is struggling to find himself until he crosses paths with a young outcast called Demian, who challenges Emil’s core beliefs about sexuality, identity and friendship.
Hesse initially published the book under pseudonym of Emil Sinclair, before later being revealed as its author.
Kopeloff and Schulz-Deyle worked together on “Snowden.” Kopeloff’s other credits include “Monster’s Ball,” “Savages” and ” Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Schulz-Deyle was a line producer on “The Aviator” and “RV.”
Hesse won the Nobel prize for literature and became the most widely read and translated European author of the 20th century with approximately 150 million copies of his works in circulation around the world. His other books include “Steppenwolf” and “Siddhartha.”
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