Disney has sealed a six figure deal for bestselling children’s novel The Graveyard Book, written by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is also the writer of the successful book Coraline and has won many awards, including the Newberry Medal. It is a title that was conceived from Gaiman watching his, at the time, two year old son Mike ride his bike around a local graveyard in 1985. He believed he could use this as inspiration for a spin of the classic title The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The young boy in his version of the tale would be the sole survivor of a murdered family, as opposed to a child abandoned in the jungles of India and raised by the wildlife. However, the book was published many years after this incident, in 2008. The author doubted his writing skills almost immediately after starting and would revisit the project over many years.
The book created a buzz at every film studio immediately after it hit bookshelves. UK Effects House Framestore originally optioned the title and even chose Academy Award® winning director Neil Jordan for the project, however the film never progressed beyond that point, although Framestore continued to renew the contract. Fortunately, Disney stepped in with the action by production chief Sean Bailey to anoint Framestore as producer. The Graveyard Book film stands as a priority for Disney and Tendo Nagenda is responsible for presenting the film idea in its current pre-production state to the studio.
Will this turn out as an animated or live-action ordeal? It does not seem certain as of yet, but it is sure to be an interesting film regardless. If anything, the following quote from The New York Times writer Monica Edinger‘s review of the tale leaves a favorable potential first look at the project.
“In this novel of wonder, Neil Gaiman follows in the footsteps of long-ago storytellers, weaving a tale of unforgettable enchantment”