Dark Matter showrunner talks helming the adaptation of his own novel: "Why would I let someone else raise my child?"

 Dark Matter.
Dark Matter.

Dark Matter creator Blake Crouch says it made perfect sense to create, executive-produce, and showrun the TV adaptation of his own novel.

"I look back and I’m still not quite sure how that happened either. , I think it's one of those things where you make a decision one day that I'm gonna do something that's a little outside my comfort zone. Anything that is great takes I think a lot of risk to do it. And I honestly was really on the fence about doing it for a lot of reasons. I hadn't showrun a show before," Crouch tells GameRadar+.

"I had produced some shows and written on them and had them adapted, but not been in the weeds to the extent that that was going to require. And one day I was just like, 'I love this story so much, why would I let someone else do this?' There's the fear of it being done badly, but there's also like, 'why would I let someone else raise my child?'"

Dark Matter hit shelves in 2016, and was nominated for the 2016 World Technology Awards. Sony Pictures made a pre-release bid of $1.25 million for the rights to the novel. A TV adaptation was first announced in 2020 from Apple and Sony, though it was originally meant to be a feature film.

Continued Crouch: "I feel that way about Dark Matter. Having a kid is a terrifying, beautiful life-changing, and affirming decision. There's a lot of parallels. I'm a father and I'm also like the father of this show, and there’s a lot of parallels there in terms of putting yourself out there and just making the plunge to try to do something you've never done before."

Dark Matter
Dark Matter

In the Apple TV series, Joel Edgerton plays Jason Dessen, a physicist and family man who is abducted on the streets of Chicago one night by a masked stranger who subsequently throws him into an alternate version of his life. Edgerton was a big fan of the novel and actually called up Crouch and executive producer Matt Tolmach about a role in the show. The author-turned-showrunner says he figured out pretty early on how to helm his own adaptation, and that it wasn't as hard as one may think.

"It's hard at first, but I got to a place pretty early on just in the development process of the show after a couple scripts in where I just sort of felt the tone and the groove of what the show wanted to be and needed to be," Crouch explains. "And because we were working in long-form television where it could be as many episodes as it needed to be, I wasn't faced with those Sophie's choice moments of, oh, you can't have all of these scenes that you love and that I know the fans will love you.

"I have to pick one or none. And we were finding ourselves in that position. We were trying to make the movie, and in the show those problems vanished and it became which great new things do we want to bring into the story."

The cast includes Jennifer Connelly, Alice Braga, Oakes Fegley, Dayo Okeniyi, Amanda Brugel, and Jimmi Simpson – the latter of whom says it was "so weird" working with a "novelist [who had] become screen."

"Not that he hadn't written screen, but for this project novelist then screenwriter, then showrunner, because of the depth of responsibility with showrunner... it's mind-boggling. And it's not something I think most writers would ever choose to take on unless they were slightly narcissistic," Simpson tells GR+. "He made it easy. Honestly, I would've accepted any amount of ego with what he was undertaking, just because that's what my job is, to accept whoever's creating to be however they wanna be [...] but he made it a goddamn joy and a pleasure."

Dark Matter hits Apple TV Plus on May 8. For more, check out our list of the best new TV shows in 2024 and beyond, or, check out our chat with Dark Matter producer Matt Tolmach about how Jason Dessen is a lot like the Green Goblin.