Adam Sandler to star in Netflix adaptation of 'Spaceman of Bohemia'

The sci-fi story by Prague-born novelist Jaroslav Kalfař was inspired by the author getting lost in the woods

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 29.10.2020 14:45 (updated on 30.10.2020)

Comic actor Adam Sandler will star in a Netflix adaptation of Jaroslav Kalfař’s 2017 sci-fi novel Spaceman of Bohemia.

Netflix made the announcement over Twitter. “Adam Sandler is going to space. In director Johan Renck's upcoming adaptation of Spaceman Of Bohemia, from author Jaroslav Kalfař, an astronaut (Sandler) sent to the edge of the galaxy discovers a creature from the beginning of time lurking within his ship,” the film streaming service said.

Director Renck won several awards including an Emmy for his work on the 2019 mini-series “Chernobyl.“ He has also directed episodes of “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad," “Bates Motel,” “The Vikings,” “Bloodline” and “The Last of Us.” In 2008 he directed the feature-length drama “Downloading Nancy.

“As we prepare for our voyage to Chopra, I couldn’t be more pleased to have found the perfect partner in Adam. And now, with the support of the brilliant Netflix family, I am profoundly excited to set off on our impossible journey,” Renck said, according to film industry magazine Deadspin. Netflix has not yet announced the final title for the adaptation.

The script for Spaceman of Bohemia is by playwright Colby Day. He announced on Facebook in October 2019 that he was working on the adaptation. Day’s other projects in development include Children of Time and In The Blink of an Eye.

The book is told from the point of view of the Czech Republic’s first astronaut Jakub Procházka, who is sent on an 18-month solo mission to a cloud of intergalactic dust called Chopra. In space he becomes friends with an ancient alien being named Hanuš. The space creature is the only entity he can talk to as his relationships on earth start to crumble.

Book author Kalfař was born in Prague in 1988 and emigrated with his family to the United States in 2003. He learned English by watching Cartoon Network. After graduating from the University of Central Florida he earned an MFA from New York University.

Kalfař has said he was inspired by an event when he was about 5 or 6 years old. On a nighttime walk in the woods with his grandfather he got separated and lost. The darkness, with nothing but the stars, and the silence created a feeling of isolation that has stayed with him throughout his life.

He also was inspired by his father’s collection of sci-fi and horror videotapes, which led him to literature ranging from Jules Verne to Terry Pratchett, as well as Kundera, Dostoevsky and Dickens. He began his own writing with fan fiction based on X-Files.

Spaceman of Bohemia began as a short story but with an American astronaut. His NYU creative writing teacher Jonathan Safran Foer suggested he make the main character Czech, which gave the story more depth and authenticity.

The book earned positive reviews from The New York Times, NPR and The Guardian.

Adam Sandler, who began as a writer and later an actor on the TV series Saturday Night Live, has had a mixed career but overall his films have collectively grossed over $2 billion at the box office. He has appeared in over 60 films and 15 TV series.

He earned critical praise for his appearance in the 2019 film “Uncut Gems,” which also earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead and The National Board of Review Award for Best Actor.

He also was widely praised for his dramatic turns in “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Anger Management,” “50 First Dates” and “Spanglish.”

On the other hand, several of his comedies such as “The Waterboy,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” and “Jack and Jill” have been roundly panned by critics, with the latter film often cited as one of the worst of all time.