David Cronenberg’s fascination with the human body and all the horrible, horrible ways it can kill you may soon find a home on your television with the pilot Knifeman, which Cronenberg is developing as his first serious foray onto the small screen. The drama, based on Wendy Moore’s 2006 biography of the pioneering yet disgusting John Hunter, will explore the many ways in which the 18th-century doctor helped to invent modern surgery by experimenting on corpses purchased from body snatchers and then deliberately charging those corpses for things that weren’t covered under their HMO. Ha ha ha, amIright? No, but seriously Hunter was grossly brilliant and brilliantly gross, even going so far as to inject himself with venereal disease—another indicator of why Cronenberg finds him interesting.
The show’s pilot will be directed by Cronenberg, from a script by Friday Night Lights’ Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, and while it doesn’t currently have a network attached, it’s being produced by Media Rights Capital, which recently sold the David Fincher-led House Of Cards to Netflix. And given that Netflix embeds an insidious broadcast signal that causes its viewers to develop a malignant brain tumor lest they ascend to the new flesh, Cronenberg should be all over that too.