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Knauf had plotted the story's broad strokes as well as several plot details from early on and knew the story destination until the final scene.
However, the resulting 180-page long script was twice the length of a typical feature film script, and Knauf still felt that it was too short to do his story justice.
Hence, it was decided to make Brother Justin an ordinary Methodist minister in a small town, setting him back in his career by about one or two years.
Expanding Brother Justin's role opened new possibilities, and his sister Iris was created as a supporting character. Because HBO does not rely on commercial breaks, Carnivàle had the artistic freedom to vary in episode length.
Klein brought it to the attention of Chris Albrecht and Carolyn Strauss of HBO, who were immediately receptive.
Knauf named the intended feature film script Carnivàle, using an unusual spelling for a more outlandish look.
Soon thereafter, Ben begins having surrealistic dreams and visions, which set him on the trail of a man named Henry Scudder, a drifter who crossed paths with the carnival many years before, and who apparently possessed unusual abilities similar to Ben's own.
The second plotline revolves around a Father Coughlin-esque Methodist preacher, Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown), who lives with his sister Iris (Amy Madigan) in California.
Daniel Knauf conceived the initial script for the show between 19 when he was unsatisfied with his job as a Californian health insurance broker and hoped to become a screenwriter.
He had always been interested in carnivals and noted that this subject had rarely been dramatized on film.