EXCLUSIVE: Producer Lionel Wigram has snapped up the films rights to Disney Hyperion fantasy tween novel The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding from New York Times’ bestselling author Alexandra Bracken. Jeff Ludwig, VP of Wigram Productions, brought the novel in for the label to produce under their deal at Warner Bros.
During his tenure as Warner Bros. SVP of production, Wigram brought J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series into the studio, overseeing all eight films and serving as EP on Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Death Hallows Parts 1 & 2. He’s also a producer on the Potter spinoff series The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its upcoming sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
With Prosper Redding, Wigram and Ludwig have discovered another fresh MG tale, completely original, and different from Potter. What’s key with these fantasy novels is world creation, and Bracken shows a knack for that in Prosper Redding. A search is underway for a screenwriter to adapt the material which is set in a classic, East Coast, Salem, Massachusetts-like setting.
Prosper Redding is a 13-year old who is from a powerful family that has been around for hundreds of years dating back to the forefathers. The only reason why the family is so wealthy and powerful is that the ancestors made a deal with a demon, Alastor, many years ago, and even betrayed him, trapping him. The demon is unleashed, and is hellbent on taking the family down. As such, Alastor takes possession of Prosper. Despite being evil and terrible, the demon develops a liking for the boy, and the two of them team up to save their own skins (He’s inside Prosper in the form of a white fox). Prosper has allies in his journey in his uncle and his young female cousin, Nell, a strong-willed character, who has inherited witchcraft talents.
“Alexandra has done a brilliant job in bringing this world to life in the mind’s eye. It comes to life in your imagination. The book has a wonderful sense of humor and there’s a quirky tone, especially in the evil demon. She conveys what it means to be a teenage boy and girl under these particular circumstances; they’re very relateable characters in this fantasy world which is grounded and believable,” Wigram tells Deadline.
Bracken’s upcoming novel The Darkest Minds will hit the screen on Aug. 3 from 20th Century Fox. That book is the first in a series.
Wigram is repped by CAA. Bracken is repped by Writers House and Paradigm.