Posted By caveo on October 17, 2006
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Warner Bros. Pictures has pre-emptively picked up the rights to “Here, There Be Dragons,” an upcoming children’s novel by James A. Owen, for David Heyman and David Goyer to produce.
The book brings together three strangers — John, Jack and Charles — in London during World War I, where they become entrusted with the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. They end up traveling to the Archipelago of Dreams, fighting the dark forces that threaten two worlds. It is later revealed that the three are future fantasy authors J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, who met in real life at Oxford and enjoyed a competitive friendship.
The book is being launched next week by Simon & Schuster with a massive hardcover printing of 100,000 copies and is one of the company’s big pushes for the year. The plan is to release six more books, one each October.
Heyday Films’ Marc Rosen discovered the story as a two-page outline when Owen was trying to shop film projects around Hollywood. Rosen suggested to Owen, an author and illustrator known for the self-published fantasy comic book series “Starchild,” that he try to do it as a book. Later, when Owen had a manuscript, he sent it to Rosen and Heyman, who at the time were sharing an office with Goyer, with whom they were collaborating on the CBS TV show “Threshold.” Heyman and Goyer used their own coin to option the project and began developing it as a feature.
Owen will write the adaptation that Goyer will supervise. Goyer and Heyman are producing through their respective Warners-based shingles, Phantom Four and Heyday Films.
Rosen and Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein are executive producing. Gotham’s Lindsay Williams will co-produce.
“It’s the ultimate story behind the story,” Goyer said of the project’s fictional treatment of the famed authors. “Very few people really know what they were like. They had really colorful lives, enough so you could tell straight biographies on them. By doing it this way, you get to have your cake and eat it too.”
In the wake of the success of the Heyman-produced “Harry Potter” movies and the “Lord of the Rings” films, there is an abundance of fantasy movies in development, but Goyer said the book has elements that have not been seen before.
“What sets it apart is that there’s a real quid pro quo between our world and their world and how events in the other world shape events our world,” he said. “Also, we get to cherry-pick the best public domain legends that exist, from the Homeric myths to tales like ‘The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.’ In this world, each island is a different fantasy world — it’s the mother lode of all that fantasy. And we get to have fun to see how Tolkien and Lewis got their inspiration. It just seemed like a no-brainer.”
Said Heyman: “The odd thing is, I’m not a fantasy fan. What drew me was that these characters are appealing and relatable and that the adventure takes place in a wholly conceived world. This is the place where all our stories come from, and the death of imagination equates to bad things happening to our world, which is such a beautiful idea.”
Heyman said he wants to fast-track “Dragons” even as he sees himself working on wrapping up the “Potter” movies for the next three or four years.
Goyer, whose next directorial effort, “The Invisible,” opens in January, is repped by WMA.
Owen is repped by the Gotham Group [Ben Smith of ICM, and attorney Craig Emanuel].