Despite the love many Neil Gaiman‘s devoted fans have for Henry Selick’s Coraline and initial reports that he was attached to direct Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, Disney seems to be going in a different direction. Rather than make The Graveyard Book into a stop-motion animation film in the style of Coraline (and last summer’s Frankenweenie and Paranorman), they halted production this August and began reworking their approach to the adaptation. If talks with Ron Howard move forward, the Oscar winning director will make it into a live-action film.
Howard has experience with family fantasy movies, as the director of Willow and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His next film, Rush, opens this September and stars Chris Hemsworth as a Formula 1 driver in the 1970s. Howard is considered one of the most versital name directors in the industry, moving easily from action, comedy, and drama. Howard is also a major name in production, cofounding Imagine Entertainment, and is also a former actor. Fans of Arrested Development will hear his voice as the narrator in the new season available on Netflix this spring.
The Graveyard Book is based on the classic novel The Jungle Book. Rather than the story of a boy raised alone in the jungle with only animal companions, Gaiman’s Nobody Owens is raised by ghosts in a cemetery, alone after his family is murdered by “Man Jack.” It is Gaiman’s most critically acclaimed book, winning both the Carnegie and Newberry Medal, the first time the same book won both prestigious awards.
Gil Netter will produce the film, who previously produced the book adaptions Marley & Me and Life of Pi into popular family films with mature themes. Considering the book’s mature and frightening themes of murder, abandonment, and a child in danger, it is questionable who the film’s target will be and the changes which may need to be made to Gaiman’s story. At this time, Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is not attached to the project.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter