According to Gaiman’s Twitter feed (and via The Guardian) he is currently in talks with a studio to pen a script for an adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s landmark fantasy series Gormenghast.
This is interesting, Gormenghast was last adapted for the screen in 2000 by the BBC and whilst the series had some great qualities (the cast, the cast, and also the cast) it was hemmed in somewhat by time and budget. Gormenghast is also, in the current fantasy landscape, something quite different, it is not in the least Tolkinesque having been written both at the same time (thus not influenced by it) and also by a writer with a very different style and background (Peake being an artist, where Tolkin was an academic). It does however cast quite a shadow over the genre, I have heard Peake’s novels described as fantasy books for fantasy writers, and that’s definitely fair, you might not see its influence writ as large as Lord of The Rings, but it’s definitely there, the Machiavellian characters of Game Of Thrones for example being descended more from Gormenghast’s ruthless social climber Steerpike than any of the broader mythological villains of Middle Earth.
This is obviously early days for the adaptation, but I’m glad to see it happen, I just hope the studio are smart and respectful enough to allow the story to have its own voice, and are not just looking for a property with some name recognition to squeeze for cash.
Hiring Gaiman seems like a good start at least.
On that note, here’s Christopher Lee throwing a cat at Jonathan Rhys-Myers from the BBC version.