Damon Lindelof heads to HBO: Will 'The Leftovers' be the next 'Lost'?

the-leftovers-by-tom-perrotta.jpgIn his first major television move since the series finale of "Lost," Damon Lindelof has inked a deal with HBO and Warner Bros. to develop Tom Perrotta's haunting novel "The Leftovers." Lindelof will co-write along with Perrotta, and will serve as showrunner if the project is picked up to series.

"The Leftovers," which was released in May 2011, follows the aftermath of the Sudden Departure -- a rapture-like event in which people from all over the world simply vanished into thin air. The novel focuses one small-town family, including the mayor, his wife, who has joined a cult, their rebellious, PTSD-stricken daughter, and their seemingly misguided son, Tom. It's a gripping, emotionally resonant novel that sticks with the reader long after the final page has been turned.

"The pilot will introduce characters and storylines not in the book. It has to," Lindelof tells Vulture. "The book is so rich in characters and details ... and opens so many creative doors, but it probably only has enough content for two or three episodes."

After the Sudden Departure, people are unable to deny the existence of some kind of higher power. Many of the currently practiced religions have also been disproven, given that the "rapture" seemed to be random -- taking everyone from the most devout religious leader to the criminal sinners. "You can't be an atheist anymore," he says. "It takes us back in time to a place in human history where everyone's lives were dictated by the gods of Olympus or the gods of the heavens. [The book] tries to explain the purpose of it all, and that lined up with the meta level of 'Lost.'"