FremantleMedia won the option for Peake’s series in a competitive situation by the late author’s literary agent Jonathan Sissons at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop.
The first two books of Peake’s series, Titus Groand and Gormenghast, were previously adapted in 2000 by the BBC as a four-part series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee.
The series of novels is about the inhabitants of the gothic Castle Gormenghast, a decaying structure that hosts the likes of Titus, heir to the throne of the House of Groan, the scheming kitchen boy Steerpike and twin sisters Cora and Clarice. Without having read the books, it sounds like they offer some of the same fantastical drama as HBO’s Game of Thrones.
FremantleMedia previously collaborated with Gaiman in adapting his novel American Gods for Starz, a series that Gaiman exec. produces, and the Gormenghast deal was done under the exclusive multi-year deal Gaiman signed with FremantleMedia. He will similarly be a non-writing exec producer on the project along with Goldsman. It follows Goldsman’s previous forays into television with Fringe, Star Trek: Discovery andTitans.
Barry Spikings, Oscar-winning producer of The Deer Hunter, will also exec. produce, as will David Stern (Howards End), who helped put the deal together. FremantleMedia North America is already meeting with potential showrunners for the series.
“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels,” Gaiman said in a statement. “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 theGormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.”
Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America, added, “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,” said “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.”
This news was first reported on by Deadline.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor