FX is developing From Hell, a drama series based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, which was adapted into the 2001 20th Century Fox feature starring Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane. Don Murphy, who produced the film, is executive producing. David Arata (Children Of Men) will write the adaptation. The Hughes brothers, who directed the movie, are not involved.

from_hell_coach copyFrom Hell tells the tale of Jack the Ripper with the killer himself as the main character. Detailing the events leading up to the Whitechapel killings and the cover-up that followed, the 572-page graphic novel is a meditation on the mind of a madman whose savagery and violence gave birth to the 20th century.

Because of the graphic book’s length, I hear Murphy, producer of the Transformers franchise, always envisioned it as a TV series. The book’s structure had to be changed to fit into the two-hour movie, which flew somewhat under the radar as it came out a month after 9/11.

donmurphyWhen the current resurgence of event series started, Murphy thought that would be a great way to handle the material properly, giving the story time to play out and doing it justice. He reached out to Fox Group chairman Peter Rice who was an executive on the movie. Rice loved the idea and the project was set up at Fox TV Studios whose then-topper David Madden had worked with Murphy in the past. Arata was brought in as writer and the drama was sold to FX, with FX Prods. coming on board to co-produce with FtvS. Murphy is executive producing with Susan Montford, via their company Angry Films, along with Arata.

From Hell is considered one of the top 10 graphic novels of all time. It came out as a comic book in multiple parts between 1989 and 1996 and was collected in 1999. Despite its size and cost it has never been out of print. What sets From Hell apart from other comics is the fact that it features 46 pages of footnotes in the back that give the story depth and detail. While it is a work of fiction, From Hell is rooted in historic records.