FremantleMedia North America is wasting no time taking advantage of their multi-year production deal with author Neil Gaiman (The Sandman), winning the television series rights to British author Mervyn Peake‘s sprawling fantasy novel series Gormenghast with Gaiman and Academy Award-winning writer Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery) attached. Gaiman and Goldsman will serve as series executive producers on the five-book series adaptation, alongside Barry Spikings (The Deer Hunter) and David Stern (Howards End).
“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels. They were crafted by a master, who was also an artist, and they take us to an ancient castle as big as a city, with heroes and villains and people larger than life that are impossible to forget. There is a reason why there were two trilogies that lovers of the fantasy genre embraced in the Sixties: Lord of the Rings, and the Gormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.” – Neil Gaiman
Here’s a look at the BBC’s 2000 four-part series adaptation of the first two books in the series — Titus Groan and Gormenghast — with Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) and Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man); as well as an overview of Peake’s series (which also includes Titus Alone, Titus Awakes and Boy in Darkness):
A doomed lord, an emergent hero, and a dazzling array of bizarre creatures inhabit the magical world of the Gormenghast novels which, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reign as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of it all is the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom, unless the conniving Steerpike, who is determined to rise above his menial position and control the House of Groan, has his way.
Gaiman currently serves as executive producer on Starz’s series adaptation of his novel American Gods, and Goldsman has also worked on past high-profile television projects such as Fringe and Titans. FremantleMedia North America is currently looking for a showrunner for the project.
“Nothing combines a dark atmosphere with humor and intrigue the way that Gormenghast does. It’s one of the most eccentric and vividly imagined universes ever created. We’re excited to continue our relationship with Neil and the producing team assembled for this project is ideal to explore the series’ perfect mix of humor, pathos and tragedy.”
– Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America