EXCLUSIVE: We have learned that Will Dunn has been tapped by Warner Bros to adapt Ray Bradbury’s 1972 fantasy novel The Halloween Tree.
Los Angeles- and London-based management and production company 42 are producing the feature film adaptation with Charlie Morrison overseeing the project.
Dunn was a member of 20th Century Fox’s Feature Writer Program. His spec feature The Fisherman was featured on the Black List, and he has worked on features for Disney, Sony, eOne and Warner Bros.
The Halloween Tree follows Tom and his schoolmates who begin to investigate the strange happenings in their small town on Halloween night. Their friend Pip is abducted by a powerful demon from the Land of the Dead. With the help of an unlikely ally, a mysterious figure named Moundshroud, Tom and his pals must journey into the Land of the Dead to save their friend.
In the book, the boys with Moundshroud pursue their friend across time and space traveling to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and to places such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in medieval Paris, and the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Along the way, they learn the origins of the holiday that they celebrate, and the role that the fear of death, ghosts, and the haunts has played in shaping civilization. The Halloween Tree itself, with its many branches laden with jack-o’-lanterns, serves as a metaphor for the historical confluence of these traditions.
Bradbury wrote and narrated Hanna-Barbera’s 1993 feature-length animated version of the novel for television, for which he won the 1994 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program.
The Bradbury estate is repped by UTA. Dunn is represented by Think Tank Management and McKuin, Frankel and Whitehead.
Management and production company 42 recently made the Kristin Scott Thomas movie Military Wives, which Bleecker Street released stateside and Lionsgate in the UK. 42 also had the Benedict Cumberbatch-Rachel Brosnahan cold war thriller The Courier (aka Ironbark) make its world premiere at Sundance in January; a release in the U.S. and UK is scheduled for August. Its TV projects include the Emmy-winning BBC and Netflix animated miniseries Watership Down; Traitors, a six-part spy thriller for Channel 4 and Netflix; and Wild Bill, a six-part drama starring Rob Lowe for ITV.
On the production side, 42 has a multiyear first-look development, financing and production deal for feature films at Netflix. As part of this deal, the company is currently in production on Adam Randall’s Night Teeth and in post-production on Outside the Wire starring Anthony Mackie. 42 also recently announced it will be producing The Silent Twins to star Letitia Wright.
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