Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

S-Town might get a movie, so let's establish right now that it's not a murder mystery

Photo: Harold Cunningham (Getty Images for Ulysse Nardin)

S-Town wasn’t as engrossing as the first season of its sister-podcast Serial, and the fact that it was built around a major twist meant it was a completely different show from how it presented itself, but it was at least an interesting story when you got past those issues. Soon, you might be able to experience the saga of podcast host Brian Reed and eccentric horologist John B. McLemore without having to sit through the podcast, though, as Participant Media has bought the movie rights to S-Town. That comes from Deadline, which says Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy is in talks to direct from a script by playwright Samuel Hunter.

The podcast was sold to listeners as a murder mystery, with McLemore believing that his hometown in Alabama was wildly corrupt and that a suspicious death was being covered up. However, there was no murder, and the real story was that John B. McLemore was just a lonely guy who spent his whole life trying and (mostly) failing to get close to people. He was also obsessed with clocks, built an elaborate hedge maze, may have hidden treasure on his property, and also probably suffered from mercury poison. That’s all interesting stuff, and it’s more interesting when you don’t go in thinking the story is a murder mystery.


So S-Town might get a movie, but there’s still no rose for Emily.

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