TROUBLE CITY

WB MAKES POST-POTTER PLANS

Movie NewsJeremy SmithComment

http://chud.com/nextraimages/skulduggery.jpgI resisted the Harry Potter craze in print, but, after Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, I've become a full-fledged fan of the franchise. If I can change... and you can change... then maybe we all can find value in the unfortunately monikered, but nonetheless purchased by Warner Brothers Skulduggery Pleasant, a kid-skewing novel by author Derek Landy, who previously wrote a pair of poorly received zombie movies over in the UK. As they say in ol' Blighty, "Good on you, Mayte!"

Lest you think this is a self-contained work, Landy has envisioned a nine-tome series based around his titular protagonist: a sleuthing, sardonic skeleton who, according to Variety, tries "to stop the return of the Faceless Ones". I could dig through a few book reviews to attempt an explanation of the "Faceless Ones", but why bother when I can make believe they look like Mel Gibson in Bird on a Wire. And nine installments? Is Derek Landy Catholic or an alias for "Shawn Kemp"?

Warner's production honcho, Jeff Robinov, is giddy over the prospect of bringing Landy's vision to the big screen (most assuredly in IMAX 3D), but I'm waiting to see what Chris Weitz does with His Dark Materials before I decide if I have love in my heart for another YA fantasy franchise. There's no writer and/or director attached yet; if Robinov and WB were smart, they'll hire the Spierigs, who are like Peter Jackson but affordable and unafraid of derivativeness. In the meantime, I hope to forget I ever wrote this item.

Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, who produced the still unreleased 2004 adaptation of Piccadilly Jim (starring Sam Rockwell!), will oversee the project for UK Blueprint Pictures.