The Man in the High Castle was a series that very nearly never was. Ridley Scott’s company, Scott Free, had tried for years to get it made when they approached me. They said they had one last chance - with the SyFy Network – and asked if I wanted to give it a try.
I immediately said yes. I had read the book in college and remembered it made a huge impression on me. In The Man in the High Castle not only had the bad guys won; the good guys had stopped trying. The notion shook me to my core.
But now that I went back to read the book, I realized why bringing it to the screen had proven so difficult. The Man in the High Castle was a brilliant, ground-breaking work of fiction, but it had no story. There was no narrative that could drive a series.
The last thing I wanted to do was betray the spirit of Phillip K. Dick, but I knew that in adapting his work, a lot of things would have to change. So I identified what I considered the book’s key themes, then set about making changes and adding characters, such as Rufus Sewell’s John Smith and Joel de la Fuente’s Inspector Kido, who didn’t exist in the book.
I was very proud of the two scripts I delivered to SyFy, but for reasons they never made clear, they passed. Then so did virtually every other broadcaster until, two years later, Amazon announced it was going to make original programming.
Suddenly, The Man in the High Castle came roaring to life. The first season of the series was one of the greatest thrills of my career, working with an immensely gifted team both in front of and behind the camera, and telling what I still consider a hugely relevant and important story. I will be forever grateful for the experience.