The pages from High Park High School alumna Hillary Jordan’s debut novel have made it to Netflix.
Already dubbed the streaming giants “Greatest Cinematic Triumph Yet,” the adaptation of Jordan’s 2008 Mudbound debuts on Netflix tonight (Friday).
Set in the post-WWII South, Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against a barbaric social hierarchy and an unrelenting landscape as they simultaneously fight the battle at home and the battle abroad, according to its Netflix biography. The film is about friendship, unacknowledged heritage, and the unending struggle for and against the land.
The adaptation is the work of up-and-coming writer/director Dee Rees (Bessie) and co-writer Virgil Williams (Criminal Minds, ER). Its sprawling cast includes Mary J. Blige, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, and Jason Clarke.
Before gracing Netflix, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and opened the American Film Institute’s festival in October.
Netflix purchased it for $12.5 million and plans to also release it in theaters.
Jordan penned Mudbound based on stories her grandmother used to tell about life on the farm. She told NPR in a 2008 interview that the book was “inspired by family stories of the year they spent on an isolated farm without running water or electricity.”
Eventually, it grew into a larger story with darker themes.
“As the story got larger, as it embraced these other themes, these larger themes about war and about Jim Crow, I wanted to hear from those people,” Jordan said about the darker tone that developed in her storytelling.
The book, Mudbound, is considered an international bestseller, according to Amazon, and has won the 2006 Bellwether Prize for Fiction; 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association; and was the 2008 NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Assoc.) Fiction Book of the Year. PASTE Magazine named it one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade.
Jordan attended HPHS for three years before attending Wesley College, according to her biography. She pursued a 15-year advertising career in New York and Los Angeles before enrolling in a writing program at Columbia University where the first pages of Mudbound were written.
She’s currently in the middle of writing a sequel.