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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Urban Fantasy MOVIE adaptations


With the release of the new Twilight trailer for 'Eclipse' I got to thinking about how much the Urban Fantasy genre has blown up. There are so many great movie/TV/graphic novel adaptations going on - the genre is really branching out into different forms of New Media. So I thought I'd do a little post updating you on what's coming, what's cancelled and possible future endeavors.... Enjoy!

Melissa Marr:
It was announced last year that the first book in Melissa Marr’s ‘Wicked Lovely’ series would be coming to the big screen.

Many in Hollywood believe Marr’s project was chosen to compete against the adaptation of Aprilynne Pike’s book ‘Wings’, which has confirmed Miley Cyrus for the lead. Both books are aimed at the YA audience. Both are about fairies, which is tipped to be the ‘next big thing’ after vampires for 2011.
‘Wings’ will be made by Disney, and is being produced by the same team who made ‘Twilight’ (Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey). ‘Wicked Lovely’ has no cast as yet, but is being adapted by Universal Pictures. Both have a tentative 2011 release date – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went head-to-head to battle it out at the box office.

Patricia Briggs:
In 2008 the ‘Mercy Thompson’ books were optioned to 50 Canon Entertainment. 50 Canon created TV show ‘Huff’, but they’ve also done movies such as ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. It’s unclear whether the ‘Mercy’ series was optioned with the intent of turning them into movies or a TV show.

Since 2008 nothing has come of the contract. It might just have been a case of 50 Canon hedging their bets. At the time ‘True Blood’ (adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ series) hadn’t hit our TV screens, so maybe they bought the ‘Mercy’ rights and then waited to see how ‘True Blood’ fared.
Since the HBO success, 50 Canon may have decided not to compete against such a high-rating show, or they could be waiting to see how audiences respond to the werewolf storyline of season 3….

Also at the time of the contract, Briggs’s comic book adaptation of her series hadn’t hit shelves. ‘Homecoming’, the first ‘Mercy’ comic by Dabel Brothers, came out last year to an underwhelming fan response. This could have impacted 50 Canon’s decision to adapt, but it’s highly doubtful.

The contract between Briggs and 50 Canon was rumoured to be in the six figures (if, or when, they decide to adapt). So regardless of whether or not the adaptation gets a green light this was a huge coup for Briggs professionally.

I, personally, think that the ‘Mercy Thompson’ books would make a great TV show… but at the same time I feel very precious about the series and would want it to be done *just* right.

Laurell K. Hamilton:
Last year Hamilton announced on her blog (with much ego-stroking) that her ‘Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter’ series was being bought to the small screen by IFC (independent film channel).

I was actually really excited for ‘Guilty Pleasures’ (the first book in the Anita Blake series) to be adapted. Hamilton’s first books in the series were great (it all went downhill around about ‘Narcissus in Chains’) and I think they would have made for a really entertaining mini-movie.

Unfortunately the deal with IFC fell through, rather disastrously.

Ms. Hamilton told fans about the no-go ‘Anita’ movie back in November 2009. She posted this rather quizzical statement on her blog: “It has been frustrating watching other shows in the genre I pioneered go on the air while we didn’t, but in the end I believe most things happen for a reason. I would rather have no television show than a bad one.”

Fans have been left to speculate about this cryptic blog post. It’s pretty obvious that there was some sort of creative difference going on between Hamilton and IFC.
And her reference to ‘other shows’ being made from adaptations – she can only mean Charlaine Harris’s ‘True Blood’. Maybe it stuck in Ms. Hamilton’s craw that Ms. Harris got HBO while she was stuck with IFC? Who knows? All we know for sure is that an adaptation of vintage Anita Blake is probably never going to happen now. If Hamilton was ‘difficult’ to work with, chances are other movie production companies will follow in IFC’s footsteps and not touch her.
Hollywood’s a big damn pond, and authors are small fish – especially when the Urban Fantasy genre has blown-up and there are plenty of possibilities for adaptation.

Charlaine Harris:
Ms. Harris has said in numerous interviews that she was quite surprised that, of all her books, it was ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ that was made into a TV show. She always thought that ‘Harper Connelly’ was more screen-friendly, and a more likely choice for adaptation.

Well since 2008 ‘True Blood’ has been going from strength to strength, and has regained HBO’s status as the premier network (not since ‘The Sopranos’ have ratings been so high). So it’s no wonder that people are sniffing around Harris’s other work.

It was recently announced that Harris’s ‘Harper Connelly’ series was being adapted into a graphic novel. ‘Dynamite Entertainment’ bought the rights to the 4-book series – which is about a young woman who can ‘sense’ the dead and see the last moments of a deceased’s life.

There’s no release date as yet, but it’s likely the graphic novel will come out late 2010, or early 2011.

This might just be the first step before turning the ‘Harper Connelly’ books into a movie or TV show. No doubt the media will be abuzz over this adaptation, purely because of Charlaine Harris’s recent fame with ‘True Blood’ and the ‘Sookie’ books being a staple of the New York Times Bestseller’s list. If the comic book gets enough hype, I wouldn’t be surprised if a production network snaps up the movie/TV rights.

I, for one, would love to see a big/small screen adaptation of this series. All of Charlaine Harris’s series’ are great, and deserve as much attention as ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ – but I have a particularly soft spot for the brilliant ‘Harper Connelly’.

Kelley Armstrong:
Back in 2004 Armstrong’s ‘Bitten’ was sold to Warner. Bros and several screenplay drafts were written. Angelina Jolie was even rumoured to star.

Since then the contract has run out and Warner. Bros decided not to renew. That means another production company could try and buy the movie rights, but Ms. Armstrong has advised fans not to hold their breath.

Bummer.

Maggie Stiefvater:
September last year Ms. Stiefvater broke the happy news on her livejournal.

Her ‘Wolves of Mercy Falls’ trilogy has been picked up for movie adaptation. It’s being made by ‘Unique Features’.

No news yet about casting or release dates – but I think the movie will be a sure thing. Werewolves are so hot right now; the YA/tween audience cannot get enough of Taylor Lautner.
‘Shiver’ will be like a “what if Jacob got Bella in the end?” to satisfy all those who weren’t in the ‘Team Edward’ camp.

Shiver’ is a gorgeous book and absolutely deserving of this happy news!

Kim Harrison:
In July 2009 Kim Harrison announced that her series 'The Hollows' was going to be adapted into a Graphic Novel by Del Ray. Ms. Harrison is actually writing the script herself, so expect plenty of that snappy dialogue and dry wit that we've come to love.

The novel will be told from Ivy's POV (*squee!*) and is set around the time of her 'Hollows' novella in 'Dates From Hell'. And Kisten is still alive (*SQUEE!*).

The 8th 'Rachel Morgan' book was released this month (to much success, of course) and the Graphic Novel is tentatively scheduled for a fall 2010 release (could possibly turn into a 2011 release though). The artist is Pedro Maia and Ms. Harrison has posted some (very rough) sketches on her blog.

The graphic novel looks and sounds great so far. I especially like the idea of it being told from Ivy's POV - hopefully we'll learn a lot more about the 'behind the scenes' of the vampires and their politics. And I think it will be great to get into Ivy's psyche and maybe discover when her feelings for Rachel changed.

I think the 'Rachel Morgan' series is one of the best Urban Fantasies out there. Hands down. Brilliant. But I think a movie/TV adaptation would be very hard, if not impossible to accomplish. The world is so intricate and there's so much back story... I don't know that such a screen adaptation would be possible. But a graphic novel is just the right kind of new media for Ms. Harrison. It allows her to work closely on script and visualize her 'Hollows' world without constraint. Fantastic!

6 comments:

  1. That was such an awesome post!!! Thanks for the updates! =)))

    Im looking forward to the Hollows Graphic novel... getting to see Ivy's POV and Kisten alive will be awesome =)

    I saw that you like me and Eric on my new header LMAO =)))))

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  2. This is another great post, Danielle.

    Personally, I don't put much faith into movie/tv adaptations. I was quite disappointed with The Lightning Thief. I think that scriptwriters can't think of anything original anymore and thus, they have to rely on books... However, if you're going to change the whole storyline, why adapt a book then?

    Did you know that originally, Bitten's rights were sold to a musical production company?!? LOL.

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  3. There are several books I'd love to see adapted to movie, but as nath said, if you're going to change the storyline, why adapt the book? I find that happens too often to not be a bit leery.

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  4. Thanks for the update. I think Richelle Meads 'Georgina Kincaid' novels would make a great movie/tv series but the only problem would be casting succubi - Georgina changes her image so often. Would love to see Harper and Mercy adaptations - (as long as their done right). I personally think the Harper Connolly series is more suited to movies than tv. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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  5. With the boom of the genre why aren't the lords of the underworld, Black dagger brotherhood. Or Night huntress series with bones and cat not being adapted to the screen when they would be huge successes

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    1. I would love to see the black dagger brotherhood made into a movie series. I loved twilight and will enjoy alot of the books listed seen as movies/tv shows. But come on the reason trueblood does so well is it also targets the 20's + age range. I think the black dagger brotherhood would thrive in theatres....just please no PG versions of it

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