As Joe Hill’s comic Locke & Key is moving slowly through its second act, 20th TV are gearing up to begin their television adaptation. We already heard that Josh Friedman was writing the script for the pilot, and Deadline now report that Mark Romanek is negotiating to take the director’s reins. This would be Romanek’s first TV show, though he has a long resume of commercials and music videos that were designed with the small screen in mind.
The series starts when the Locke family, recently bereaved of their father, move to Keyhouse, a mysterious mansion in which every door leads to a different place, either in this world or another, and around which some curious, magical keys are to be found. There are ghosts and creaky floorboards and huge, ambitious story arcs, lots of echoes and shadows and strong feeling that what you’re reading is Story with a capital S. This could be amazing TV.
Romanek is well known for his very striking imagery, and some might leap to the assumption that TV’s lower budget and shorter shooting schedules would see his style curbed. I think Romanek’s work will survive the transition and learning period quite comfortably, and will remind you of his observation on the difference between lighting for film and for music videos. With film, he has said, it’s about getting the production design right and then lighting very practically, with sensible source lighting, and not getting lost in too much sculpting with the light or the stylisation you might indulge when shooting a promo. Doesn’t sound too incompatible with a TV series set largely around one big house, does it?
The original comics are Bleeding Cool favourites, and we’re big fans of Romanek too, so we’ll be watching this one closely.