As a TV series, Friday Night Lights frequently comes up in discussions regarding the best shows ever aired. Despite its chaotic, multi-network run, the high school drama became an exemplar for everything from the football subgenre of filmmaking to effective, character-driven storytelling. Between that and Peter Berg’s well-regarded 2004 film of same name (on which the show was based), a strong cinematic outing that introduced America to Explosions in the Sky, one would assume that H.G. Bissinger’s 1990 book about a high school football team from Odessa, Texas had been taken as far as it could possibly go. Right?
Well, you’d be wrong there, because Variety reports today that Universal has plans to “re-imagine” the property through a new film by David Gordon Green, who’s rapidly assembling one of the most bizarre filmographies of any filmmaker working today. Green has helmed everything from Pineapple Express to George Washington to the upcoming Halloween reboot, and now he’ll step into the sizable shadow of a book that’s already been explored in detail across multiple media.
Variety’s sources have reported that the film is “not a sequel to Universal’s 2004 film starring Billy Bob Thornton, nor is it based on NBC’s TV series with Kyle Chandler. Instead, it’s a new property, though still focused [on] H.G. Bissinger’s non-fiction book about the 1988 Permian High School Panthers as the new Texas football team makes a run towards the state championship.”
It’s unclear when the new adaptation will go into production, but it’s hard not to approach it with skepticism, between Green’s wildly fluctuating track record and the difficulties of bringing anything new to the series at this point. But if Hollywood has taught us anything time and again, it’s that no property is safe from being milked for everything it’s worth.