While working on Shutter Island, producer Brad Fischer, writer Laeta Kalogridis and star Leonardo DiCaprio were all taken with Jack El-Hai‘s book The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness. The tome is a history of Walter Freeman, the doctor who was the first proponent of the frontol lobotomy in the United States. He developed the trans-orbital lobotomy method, using a tool derived from a standard kitchen ice pick. (As seen in Brad Anderson’s film Session 9.)
The Fischer/Kalogridis/DiCaprio trio were interested enough that they optioned the book and brought it to HBO as possible fodder for a series. Now a drama is in the works, called The Lobotomist, and Robert Schwentke (Red, The Astronaut’s Wife, R.I.P.D.) will direct the pilot from a script by Daniel Thomsen.
Variety has the news, saying that the fate of the potential series is not yet set.
Walter Freeman performed his first pre-frontal lobotomy in 1936, but didn’t develop the famous trans-orbital lobotomy technique until the mid-’40s. Variety’s article specifies part of the thrust of the potential series,