It has been confirmed that Alcon Entertainment, producer of such hit movies as The Blind Side and Prisoners, has acquired the film rights to Shane Hegarty's new fantasy novel series Darkmouth in a "six-figure" deal.
Mr Hegarty, formerly Arts editor of The Irish Times, secured a publishing deal with HarperCollins two years ago and the first book in the series will be available from Thursday. The opening volume is to emerge in the US in April.
“Obviously I am delighted by this news,” Mr Hegarty said. “Having spent two years working on it, the idea that it will be up on the big screen is beyond my expectation.”
Darkmouth concerns Finn, a 12-year-old desperate to defend his town from attack by monsters named Legends. Unfortunately for Finn, despite being descended from a clan of warriors, he is among the worst legend hunters in history.
“I talked to Alcon in advance,” Hegarty continued. “And the thing I really liked was that they understood the work. They understood it’s to do with a father and son relationship. They were very much into that.”
Marianne Gunn O'Connor, Mr Hegarty's literary agent, told The Irish Times that, once a screenwriter is found, the film could go into production as soon as next year.
“It is the sort of book that comes along and you know it will warrant something big,” Ms O’Connor said. “These people wanted to take it off the table. It is no ordinary deal. It is a massive deal. They are really excited. They have been looking for something for children for years. It’s an option with intent. They are going to make this movie.”
Ms O’Connor confirmed that the offer was “really aggressive”, not a “soft option,” and that it involved a “very high-end six-figure” sum.
Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, joint CEOs of Alcon, will produce the Darkmouth films with Simon Brooks of Canyon Creek Films and Kira Davis of 8:38 Productions. "We are excited to develop this highly sought after series for the big screen," Mr Johnson and Mr Kosove announced. "Shane has created a magical world with fascinating warm unforgettable characters. Darkmouth lends itself perfectly to a cinematic telling."
Ms O’Connor expects Mr Hegarty to be involved “overseeing the script”.