Thursday, February 10, 2011
The film & tv rights to my novel 'Hybrids' have been optioned by Dublin-based production company Boulder Media's rights holding sister company, Beholder. Am I happy? You bet!
It seems ages ago when I was so lucky that the novel won a competition to find a new children's author. First published in 2007 it is currently being reprinted with some very nice review quotes on the cover.
'Hybrids' takes place in the near future, when the nation is in the grip of a virus that causes its victims to become fused with technology, creating 'hybrids' - people neither wholly human nor machine.
Johnny (half-computer) and Kestrella (her hand is a mobile phone) unite to find Kestrella's missing mother as the Government's Gene Police hunts down hybrids, sending them to the sinister Centre for Genetic Rehabilitation. Their quest takes them to the heart of a conspiracy.
Boulder is well known as the service studio behind shows such as the witty and wacky (and multi-award-winning) 'Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends' and has recently completed work on Cartoon Network Europe's upcoming "live-action/animation 2D and 3D hybrid" 'The Amazing World of Gumball', which is pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible. How come young children get the most surreal telly?
Beholder says 'Hybrids' is "a compelling, thought-provoking sci-fi thriller" which it sees becoming "slick, gripping, older children's 'event' television".
[Incidentally I recently had an invitation to go and run workshops in a girls' technology school in Birmingham where the teachers, librarian and their kids had all read Hybrids. They said "We will be using Hybrids as a perfect example of a modern science fiction book". Wow.]
Anyway, Boulder's producers are Peter Lewis & Anne Tweedy and the Emmy-nominated Robert Cullen is to be the director.
I'd like to thank HarperCollins' Head of Licensing and Content Development, Melanie Beer for her great patience and help in negotiating the deal.
Look, I am trying not to get too excited about this - I have been here more than once before with a previous tv series, Doc Chaos, which was optioned and was nearly produced three times, twice for Channel Four and once for Warner Bros TV. But the vagaries of funders and producers meant the dice didn't land 'yes'-side up on those occasions.
I know that nowadays it is harder than ever to secure development finance. However I believe Anne and Pete are very serious and they have a proven track record of making the utmost effort to secure the backing required - which includes getting the toy people on board.
Just imagine model Johnnies and Kestrellas!
And, er, the computer game. Which surely undermines the watch-out-for-technology message of the book?
Let's not go there.
Pete and Annie are also open to team working, and I really hope we can keep whatever emerges true to the spirit of the book.
The tv series would hopefully encompass the whole story arc that continues from book one through the as-yet-unpublished other two books in the series. HarperCollins have indicated they will publish these when/if the series is to be broadcast.
We've discussed whether the treatment should be live action or animation. I said that although I love animation, especially Japanese anime such as Stand Alone Complex (the video above is a live-action-CGI composite from Animax TV), I have always seen Hybrids as live-action with CGI. Luckily, Pete and Anne agreed.
So now is the long wait - which could take years - to find out if Creep, the hybrid virus, will ever infect a screen near you!