Years ago, writer-director Dee Rees (“Mudbound,” “Pariah”) had tried her hand at adapting author Philip K. Dick with “Martian Times.” Although the project never came together, she established a strong working relationship the sci-fi writer’s daughter, producer Isa Hackett. When Hackett was setting up “Electric Dreams” – an anthology series based on Dick’s short stories – at Amazon, she offered Rees her pick of stories to adapt. Rees gravitated to “The Hanging Stranger,” the 1953 story of a store owner who discovers a dead body hanging from lamp-post and realizes that he seems to be the only one in town bothered by an apparent lynching.
“I was interested in how to take the body and really make it a metaphor,” said Rees in an interview with IndieWire. “What if it wasn’t about a body, what if it’s about an idea that was in the public square?”
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