Apparently Harry Potter publisher Barry Cunningham of Chicken House/Scholastic Inc. has found the next big hit, Tunnels, and Relativity Media picked up the rights to the film and attached Vincenzo Natali to direct it. Natali is best know for developing the film Cube and his most recent movie Splice, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film festival.
Tunnels will be the film adaptation of the first installment of the New York Times best-selling children's series by first-time authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams.
More than a million copies of the book have been sold, and published in more than forty countries worldwide, the authors have already completed two sequels to the series - Deeper,published in '08, and the third installment, Freefall will be published in the US this spring.
Tunnels tells the story of Will, a 14-year-old boy driven by a fascination of the buried past, who is drawn into a subterranean world after his archaeologist father abruptly goes missing. This hidden civilization, beautiful and unforgiving, is dominated by a sinister, vicious race called the Styx, who have presided over generations of enslaved colonists.
According to the press release,
This first installment of the 'Tunnels' franchise will open up a whole new universe of excitement and adventure to audiences throughout the world. It represents the next level in family entertainment, combining a science-based reality reminiscent of the classic fiction of Verne and Wells, but in a completely contemporary setting, with today's immersive cinematic technology to create a believable, yet unforgettable movie-going experience.
Every studio is looking for the next big franchise to replace Harry Potter when it finally ends, will Tunnels be it? So far every film that has set out to be the next Harry Potter has ultimately failed.
I think Natali is a definitely an interesting choice for the director. I think he's got what it takes to bring this world to life. I loved Cube, but wasn't a big fan of Splice. The guy is a great visual director, but from what I've noticed in his films he's not very good with actors or dialogue. But maybe he's learned a few things along the way, maybe the script which was adapted by Simon Sandquist and Joel Bergvall is great.
I hope the movie ends up being good! It sounds like a great story. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.