EXCLUSIVE: All aboard! Paddington duo Paul King and David Heyman are teaming up on “magical love story” Time’s Fool for Fox Searchlight.

King is developing and will direct the feature, which is an adaptation of Glyn Maxwell’s novel-length poem Time’s Fool: A Tale In Verse, about a young man who is cursed to ride a train for eternity, except for one night every seven years when the train pulls into his home town and he has a few hours to unravel the nature of his entrapment.

Screenplay is being written by King and Jon Croker (The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death) who will both produce alongside Paddington and Harry Potter series producer Heyman. UK scribe Croker was part of the writing team on both Paddington films.

On publication in 2001, British writer Maxwell’s nostalgic verse poem Time’s Fool drew comparison to supernatural classics such as Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. However, I understand the film adaptation will skew towards the magical, mysterious and romantic rather than horror.

Pic will be overseen by Fox Searchlight Presidents of Production for Film and Television David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, SVP of Production Katie Goodson-Thomas and creative executive Peter Spencer. It marks super-producer Heyman’s first collaboration with Searchlight and his first feature with Fox since 1999 pic Ravenous.

“I’ve always been attracted to films which use magical ideas to explore real human emotions,” King said. “And so when, one rainy afternoon, Jon poured me a cup of tea and told me the story of Time’s Fool, I was immediately hooked. It’s a captivating tale of wonder and heartbreak which sets the pulse racing and the imagination on fire. David, Jon and I will do our best not to mess it up.”

“When I first read Glyn’s book twelve years ago, I simply couldn’t put it down – it’s romantic yet realistic, funny yet sad, epic yet intimate, and above all, profoundly human. Paul is so good at finding cinematic ways of expressing deep feelings that this felt like the perfect fit for his unique talents,” added Croker.

Heyman commented, “I am thrilled to continue collaborating with Paul and Jon on Time’s Fool and we could not be more excited to be working with Searchlight; as a long-time fan of the films they make, it felt like the perfect home for this unique and magical story.”

“From the moment Paul outlined his vision for Time’s Fool we were enraptured. A magical love story that transcends time and place, it is perfectly suited to Paul, David and Jon’s unique gifts as filmmakers,” commented Greenbaum and Greenfield.

Heyman is represented by Alan Hergott of Bloom Hergott et al. King is repped by Independent, WME and Nelson Davis. Jon Croker is represented by Independent, WME and Grandview. Glyn Maxwell is represented by Micheline Steinberg Associates.