EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are closing a deal to acquire the new Neil Gaiman novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Joe Wright is being attached to direct, and his Shoebox Films partner Paul Webster is coming aboard to produce with Hanks and Goetzman. The film will be a co-production between Playtone and Shoebox.
The Ocean At The End of the Lane will be published in June by William Morrow. According to jacket copy, it’s about about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. The narrator describes a tale that begins when he was seven and a lodger stole the family’s car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed — within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.
That sounds promising and hey, it’s Gaiman, whose works include American Gods, Sandman, The Graveyard Book, all of which are getting made. He was also behind Coraline, which Focus Features turn into an animated hit.
Wright teamed with Focus Features on his last two films, Anna Karenina and Hanna, and before that Pride & Prejudice.
Playtone is adapting Gaiman’s American Gods as a series for HBO, and the production company just won five Emmy Awards for Game Change, and Playtone is currently producing the Peter Landesman-directed feature Parkland.
CAA repped the package.