The journey from page to screen of Neil Gaiman’s multiple award winning fantasy The Graveyard Book has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Written with a beguiling simplicity and a premise that is classic Gaiman, The Graveyard Book is a hugely entertaining story about Nobody, Nobody Owens that is. As the novel opens, the protagonist is an adventurous toddler in a middling English town who loses everything one night, name and all, when his family is brutally murdered. Escaping to the local and remarkably ancient graveyard, the toddler is adopted by the spirits of the dead and acquires both a mysterious undead guardian and his peculiar name.
In 2009 the novel picked up several prestigious awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Novel (Gaiman’s fourth Hugo) and the Newberry Medal. Back in January that year we were excited to report that the novel was also to get the big screen treatment with Oscar winning writer/director Neil Jordan at the helm. Jordan is an inspired choice as director for such a fantastical story which nonetheless demands a somewhat gritty and dark realism, all qualities which he has brought to projects such as The Crying Game, Mona Lisa and Michael Collins, and the darkly atmospheric A Company of Wolves.
Unfortunately this project happened to be attached to Miramax Films whose own journey over the last year or so has been less a roller coaster ride than a sharply downward slide toward total annihilation. As Miramax’s dire financial situation failed to improve, Gaiman made the announcement in January this year that the project had effectively been shelved.
Fortunately The Graveyard Book‘s journey from page to screen has not come to an end. It was announced by Deadline yesterday that a development deal has been struck between Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures and the South Korean company CJ Entertainment to develop three projects over the next three years, and the adaptation of The Graveyard Book is one of those projects. In equally good news, it appears that Neil Jordan is still attached as writer and director of this live-action adaptation. Gaiman will produce, along with Wayfare Entertainment and Framestore.
Fingers crossed that this time all will go well.
You can read our review of The Graveyard Book here.