Saturday, 20 October 2012

Film rights optioned!

Who have they been optioned by, you ask?

Not even kidding. 


Film and TV rights for The Bone Season and its sequels have been optioned by Andy Serkis' company, The Imaginarium Studios




Tah-dah! 


Sorry for the very long delay in announcing the news. Needless to say I'm over the moon. Now I get to talk about film rights and book-to-film, which I hope you guys will find just as interesting as the manuscript-to-book process!


First I'll tell you a bit about the company. The Imaginarium Studios was started by independent producer Jonathan Cavendish and Andy Serkis in 2011. Both Jonathan and Andy have many years of experience in the film industry. Jonathan notably produced Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the Bridget Jones films and Croupier, along with many others. I'm sure Andy needs no introduction, even if you don't always 'see' him on the screen – he played Gollum in all three Lord of the Rings films (reprising his role in the upcoming Hobbit trilogy), King Kong in the 2005 remake, Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He's also appeared without his "digital makeup" in a host of films, including Inkheart, Stormbreaker and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. His interest in motion capture is what got Imaginarium started. The idea was to create a UK-based hub for motion capture projects in Europe. They use the latest motion tracking technology from Vicon.
  


The Financial Times released an article on Andy and Jonathan's up-and-coming projects this morning. Here's a more Bone Season-centric excerpt from Deadline News today: 




London-based performance capture studio The Imaginarium has secured the film rights to the highly anticipated book series 'The Bone Season', by Samantha Shannon as well as the film rights to adapt George Orwell’s seminal novel 'Animal Farm', it was announced today by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, founders of The Imaginarium.
“The dystopian world created by Samantha in 'The Bone Season' series offers a fantastic setting for a truly extraordinary and thrilling narrative,” said Serkis. “We are honoured that she chose to collaborate with us in the adaptation of her work.”
“Samantha has created a compelling and unique world and a gripping story crafted to span a series of novels. 'The Bone Season' offers the opportunity to create a dynamic franchise with global appeal,” adds Cavendish. 
“I am thrilled to be working with The Imaginarium,” said Shannon. “Their name had me from the start: a place devoted to imagination. There is a strong, visual sensibility to my writing process and I am very excited by the creative possibilities for how 'The Bone Season' could translate from page to screen. I am confident that all the members of the Imaginarium team are as passionate about the book as I am and I look forward to working with them to make this project a reality.”


I really am thrilled. Imaginarium is a cutting-edge studio and I trust the team completely with The Bone Season. The new set of edits I'm doing were prompted by Imaginarium's writers, who met Bloomsbury with some new suggestions. Filmmakers are forensic about plot, and they came up with some really good editorial points  not so the book will suit a film (they initially went through it from a reader's perspective, not as filmmakers), but so the plot becomes clearer to the reader. To me it showed they cared about the whole world of The Bone Season, not just the visual aspect. They read it four times before producing notes on it.


I'll answer a few questions off the top of my head.

How did it happen? 


I was first approached for rights very early on, right after the acquisition of the book was announced. Rights may sell pre- or post-publication. I'm not sure if it works the same in all cases, so I'll just tell you what I've experienced so far. When the author is approached for rights, it may be with or without a studio. Imaginarium is an independent production company. They'll develop The Bone Season in the UK – great for me, as I live very near its base in London – and then take it to studios and see if they're interested in distributing and financing it. Andy and Jonathan will both be producers on The Bone Season.   


Does this mean it will all be done with mo-cap? 


No, but it does mean it will look very good when it's used. There are several characters in The Bone Season who will need to be digitally animated or enhanced in some way, including one of the main characters, Warden. Andy is pretty much Hollywood's go-to guy for mo-cap, so my not-quite-human characters couldn't be in better hands. He and Jonathan showed me some of the projects Imaginarium are working on at the moment, including the new adaptation of Animal Farmand they really do look fantastic. They have a committed team of animators, some of whom are transfers from the Weta Workshop, which provided animation for The Lord of the Rings.   


Do you get any rights? 


Yes! Hallelujah. Signing with Imaginarium has ensured that I have consultation rights over what happens in the film. This was what sold it for me. Many film companies simply buy the rights and then do as they please with the book (see Authors Who hated the Movie Versions of their Books). Fortunately for me, Jonathan and Andy said from the beginning that they wanted me to be involved in production. I was hugely relieved to be offered these rights. I don't intend to force myself on all aspects of the film – I think a film should be a fresh artistic take on a work, not just a reproduction of what the author has written – but it's great that it's a collaboration, not just a selling-off.
I'm making up a visual portfolio for Andy at the moment, so he gets an idea of how I envision Scion. Good thing I'm doing a paper in Film Studies this year! 


I met Andy in person last week and had a barely-controlled fangirl fit. Really embarrassing. He's such a nice guy. You always expect celebrities to be an alien species, but Andy is so chilled. And loves The Bone Season. Considering he's spent years working in Tolkien's world, it's an honour to have him look at my world and see something worth making a film out of. I was also excited to see that Jonathan had produced Bridget Jones 
 the author of the books, Helen Fielding, went to the college I currently attend (and also studied English). IT'S FATE. 




I couldn't be happier with my decision to go with Imaginarium, and I really can't wait to start working with them. Send them some love on Twitter and Facebook


Please do ask questions if you'd like to know more  I'll let you know developments as I hear them. Film is often a very long and slow process, so there won't be news about it as often as there will be about the book, but there is tonnes of exciting stuff to come. 


All previous Q's will be answered next week. 

37 comments:

  1. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD

    CONGRATULATIONS!!

    I mean, we all guessed it (and wow am I a psychic or what?) but CONGRATULATIONS!!

    I really don't know what else to say, but if I have questions I'll use Twitter I suppose.

    Oh! Did you ask Andy to do a Gollum/Smeagol impersonation? I would have.

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    1. Thank you! And yes, you really are psychic - completely freaked me out when you sent me that tweet. I was like "how does he know?!"

      I sadly didn't ask him to do an impersonation. I was a bit overwhelmed by just meeting him. He hugged me, though!



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    2. You hugged Gollum!

      OHMYGOD!!

      But I do have an actual question now:

      Can you, or will you, impose a British-Only Policy for cast/crew similar to the HP films? Imaginarium is London-based, after all, so that's a start.

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    3. Not all of the characters are British, so I wouldn't want to do that - although I imagine it will be mainly British crew involved for the time being. JK didn't include many non-British characters in HP, so her policy would make a bit more sense.

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  2. I knew it! :)

    First of all, congratulations! I'm really glad you secured the consultation rights, you definitely made the right decision! That's a great company on board for the Bone Season!
    Just gotta make sure I read the books before the films! :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad I secured the rights, too...

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  3. This is so awesome, I am so proud of you and so glad I met you. :) GOLLUM!

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  4. Great!!! Samantha, Big congratulations from me. I know from the very beginning that such a wonderful novel series will be definitely converted into movie series in the future. I can imagine your excitement about this. Hopefully, Imaginarium Studios will make characters of TBS into excellent reality. I am sure that Warner Bros, Walt Disney and others Giants of the Hollywood will be definitely taking keen interest in the future in this major series of dystopian world and maybe doing partnership with Imaginarium Studios.

    You have made a good decision on holding consultation rights. Now i can say that you are not just a author but also a film Producer. So, that is cool !!!

    Not everyone of your age becomes so successful in this world. So don’t forget to enjoy the moments. Again, congratulations on your achievements.

    Hats off!

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    1. Thank you, Mohsin! I'm sure they'll do great. Their studio is awesome.

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  5. THIS IS AWESOME!!!

    I'm so happy for you! I can only imagine how thrilled you are. Don't know what to say. AMAZING!

    Now we have two things to wait for: the book and the film. Could there be any better?

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    1. Thank you! I am so thrilled. x

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    2. This all happened so quickly! It's amazing to see how much people love your book.

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    3. Yeah, just hope readers love it too...!

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  6. This is exciting news! I just found out about you yesterday, and I am really looking forward to your new book!

    I read about this news yesterday at http://ca.movies.yahoo.com/news/andy-serkis-direct-adaptation-animal-farm-221616349.html

    And that is how I came across your site. I've got your book release on your calendar!!

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    1. Hey, thanks so much for stopping by! I'm so glad you're looking forward to it. Hope you enjoy my blog if you continue reading.

      S x

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  7. Such exciting news and really interesting to learn about what Andy Serkis has been up to when he hasn't been starring in films. Thank you again for an informative post. With all the exciting works in the pipeline, I don't know how you manage to concentrate on your studies. I can imagine your mind would start wandering to er, more interesting things during a lecture!

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    1. Fortunately I'm studying Emily Dickinson this term and I absolutely love her poetry, so it's quite easy to concentrate - but my mind does tend to wander when I work on my other papers!

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    2. I've been thinking about the same thing. How do you have time to do everything you have to do? Studies, everything with the The bone season and then the writing of the second book... Hard work!

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    3. Just have to make sure I balance my time properly. Although I admit I don't have much of a social life...

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    4. I know the feeling... Days go like "studies -> writing -> studies" :D

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    5. Plus isn't writing a little like a social life? Blogging about it definitely is social.

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    6. That's true. Thank you all for keeping me from the insanity of loneliness!

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  8. I'm glad to hear you keep consultation rights. Congratulations. Its tough to watch some authors' work fly out of their control. Clive Barker in particular comes to mind. He spend 20 years trying to get back control of the Hellraiser franchise. It looks like your work will truly be yours.

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    1. Thank you, it is a huge relief.

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    2. Just came back across this story.

      That officially means you've "gone hollywood."

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  9. I just wanted to congratulate you for the film rights and the book as well! My fiancé, Booklover, shared your blog for me a while ago and I've been reading it since that. You post very interesting stuff here and I can't wait to read the book and watch the film!

    I'm looking forward to read your the texts about the movie. I guess it will inspire me a lot, because I'm editing at the moment a movie, which I've directed as well. Good luck!

    Jouneezeh

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    1. Thanks for commenting! Very kind of Booklover to share my blog.

      I'm so glad you're enjoying it, and I hope it continues to inspire you - good luck with editing your movie!

      S x

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    2. Your blog is absolutely worth sharing!

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  10. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! That's such exciting news!! It must be surreal to think you're going to see your own imagination come to life :D. Congratulations!

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  11. Congratulations Samantha. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of your book next year. ;)

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