Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 award-winning novel “Station Eleven,” which tells the story of a swine flu pandemic that wipes out most of the world’s population, is hitting close to home these days in more ways than one.
Plenty of fans of the book have noticed eerie parallels between Mandel’s tale — classified as a work of science fiction by the publishing trade — and the current outbreak of the coronavirus.
— Kat Klosek (@Kat__JK) February 5, 2020
— Ali Littman (@AliMcShpiel) February 4, 2020
Even the author admitted that the line between fact and fiction felt uncomfortably blurred.
To all the distressed readers in my mentions: we’re in agreement that it just wasn’t a great week to start reading Station Eleven, and I don’t like to think about the coronavirus either.
— Emily St. J. Mandel (@EmilyMandel) January 26, 2020
But here’s where things get even weirder. In what can only be termed as the mother of all coincidences, a 10-episode television adaptation of “Station Eleven,” announced by HBO Max in summer 2019, began filming in Chicago in mid-January, the same week the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S.
The announced cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”), Mackenzie Davis (“Terminator: Dark Fate”) and Himesh Patel (“Yesterday”). Patrick Somerville, creator of Netflix’s limited series “Maniac,” is on board as a writer and executive producer, with Hiro Murai (“Atlanta”) tapped to direct.
— Hyde Park Trish (@HydeParkTrish) January 23, 2020
— Robert Loerzel (@robertloerzel) January 30, 2020
That moment you get home and catch @HimeshJPatel filming his new series STATION ELEVEN in your building!
I love living in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/We02U2mPda
— Jake Hamilton (@JakesTakes) January 20, 2020
— Vallen Alexander (@TheValAlexander) February 2, 2020
If you want a peek at what the post-apocalypse looks like, @filminginchicago is a great place to track shooting locations.
Station Eleven. Apparently our apocalyptic future contains a lot of really nice greenery. https://t.co/pZvoU2hlP5
— Filming in Chicago (@filming_chicago) January 25, 2020
Of course, this being Chicago, director Murai quickly discovered that when it comes to bleak environments, pretend pandemics have got nothing on winter.