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Henry Selick Will Adapt Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’

Henry Selick
Focus Features

Sometimes, a filmmaker and an author are a match made in heaven. Case in point: Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman. Although Selick’s stop-motion adaptation of Gaiman’s ‘Coraline’ may not have followed the book beat-for-beat, it perfectly captured the strange, nightmarish whimsy that is inherent in so much of the author’s work. Now, Selick will take on Gaiman yet again, this time with an adaptation of ‘The Graveyard Book.’

The news of Selick’s attachment (courtesy of Deadline) comes hot on the heals of Disney acquiring the rights to Newbery Award winning book. The project had been previously set up elsewhere with Neil Jordan set to direct, but the production stalled, the rights went up for bid and Disney opened its wallet. No screenwriter is attached at the moment, but Disney isn’t exactly in a hurry. Selick is currently working on a secret project with Pixar and won’t get to work on ‘The Graveyard Book’ until that’s finished.

Here’s the official plot description for ‘The Graveyard Book,’ which can best be summed up as “The Jungle Book with ghosts instead of animals.” If that doesn’t sound like the perfect film for the man who made ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ and ‘Coraline,’ then what is?

“It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.”

‘The Graveyard Book’ isn’t the only Gaiman project in development. HBO is hard at work transforming his fantasy epic ‘American Gods’ into a television series and his ‘Sandman’ comic series (one of the greatest comics ever created) is always on the verge of becoming a movie or TV series. Few writers have the unparalleled imagination of Gaiman, but his work requires an equally daring filmmaker if its going to make it to the screen intact. In Selick’s hands, it’s difficult to imagine ‘The Graveyard Book’ disappointing.

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