When negotiations between Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Disney broke down last year, after numerous delays on his unnamed feature stop-motion-animated film project, the exact status of The Graveyard Book adaptation was left uncertain. Selick seemed like a shoe-in to adapt another spooky Neil Gaiman young adult novel for kids after his Oscar nominated Coraline. In fact, the production kind of dropped off the map for a while, until today.
The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Ron Howard is close to being put on the project:
In a new twist, Graveyard has now been reconfigured as a live action movie and sources say Ron Howard is in negotiations to direct… Howard’s boarding signals a new round of development for Graveyard. The director will oversee the writing of a new script and Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment might also end up in a producer role.
The Graveyard Book is simple enough to describe, as even Gaiman acknowledges: it is The Jungle Book but with dead people and a graveyard instead of animals and a jungle. What gives what is basically a series of short stories a denouement is Nobody “Bod” Owens’ discovery and defeat of his birth parents’ murderers, and the onset of his journey to find an adult life in the world of the living outside the graveyard, but knowing that he can always return if he wants to. Indeed, his eventual return is inevitable.
If Howard’s Graveyard Book manages to capture the messages about death and childhood of the book, this is a movie adaptation I’d be very, very interested in.
(via The Hollywood Reporter.)