New Line in fantasy land again
Third big genre title secured by studio since 'Rings'
By MICHAEL FLEMING, ADAM DAWTREY
Fortifying its stock of fantasy fare after "The Lord of the Rings," New Line has made a preemptive deal worth high-six against seven figures for screen rights to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell the bestselling fantasy novel by Susanna Clarke.
Deal marks the third significant fantasy title secured by the studio in the wake of its billion-dollar 'Rings' trilogy. Studio toppers Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne and Toby Emmerich are now reading Chris Weitz' first draft of "The Golden Compass," the start of the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, which Weitz will direct. The studio is searching for a writer for Inkheart, the fantasy franchise by German author Cornelia Funke that it recently acquired.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has become a bestseller in both the U.S. and U.K. Story, set in 19th century England, is about a master practitioner of real magic and his apprentice, who share an uneasy alliance when they channel their powers in the war effort against Napoleon. One of them goes too far, tapping into an alternate dimension to bring a person back from the dead.
Book is the first novel by Clarke, a former cookbook editor at Simon & Schuster. She will be a producer on the film along with Nick Marston. Pic will be produced through Cuba Pictures, a company formed as an offshoot of Brit lit agency Curtis Brown.
Acquisition was spearheaded by New Line exec veep Mark Ordesky and senior veep of European production Ileen Maisel. Ordesky was the exec most closely aligned with "Lord of the Rings." He and Maisel recently switched from Fine Line to New Line, and they've made fantasy epics a mandate. Both were instrumental in the deals for His Dark Materials and Inkheart.
"Like Tolkien, Clarke has written a book that has its own mythology in a parallel world, with its own land and rules," Ordesky said.
Original article here, recopied so you don't have to watch the annoying moviefone advert. :/
The idea of a film version of Jonathan Strange is way cool, but OMGOMGOMG a His Dark Materials film?. That is cool and wonderful and scary to think about all at once.