FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) today announced it has won the rights to Mervyn Peake’s gothic fantasy book series, Gormenghast.
Hailed as one of the great works of 20th century British literature, Gormenghast has received widespread acclaim and has been translated into more than 20 languages.
With numerous companies competing for the project, FMNA ultimately secured the rights to all five books within the series, from literary agent Jonathan Sissons at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, on behalf of the Peake estate.
Attached to the project are award-winning author Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Norse Mythology, Coraline) and Academy Award-winning writer, producer and director, Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man), who will serve as non-writing executive producers. Academy Award-winning Barry Spikings (The Deer Hunter, Lone Survivor) will also serve as an executive producer, along with David A. Stern (Howards End, The Last Tycoon), who was instrumental in bringing this deal together.
“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 Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America. “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.”
“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels,” said Neil Gaiman. “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 the Gormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.”
“Luminaries like Mervyn Peake and my old friend Neil Gaiman are more than good company to keep,” said Akiva Goldsman. “I am grateful to Barry Spikings for the will, and FremantleMedia for the capacity, to help us bring the sprawling glory of Gormenghast to a modern audience.”
The Gormenghast series traces the life of Titus Groan, our hero and the 77th Earl Of Groan. The series begins with his birth and follows him throughout his complex life. Titus is a reluctant heir to the Earldom but one who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom, unless the toxically charismatic, Steerpike, is able to rise above his kitchen boy station to take control of the House of Groan. What follows in an extended fight to the death for Gormenghast itself.
FremantleMedia is a leading producer of supremely engaging dramas with productions in 12 territories around the world. This past year, FMNA’s critically acclaimed American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, was STARZ’s No. 1 launch of its season and returns to the network in 2019 for a second season.