EXCLUSIVE: London-based Big Talk Productions has optioned the best-selling Lockwood & Co series with plans to adapt the books for television. The supernatural adventure stories are written by Jonathan Stroud, and the deal comes as the fifth and final installment, The Empty Grave, is to be published this week by Penguin Random House imprint, Corgi.
Launched in 2013 with The Screaming Staircase, the Lockwood & Co books are set in an alternative London that’s facing an epidemic of spooks and ghouls. Only a few young people have the abilities to see and hear the supernatural terrors, and it’s their job to fight them. Many competing Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, but the smallest, most ramshackle of all is Lockwood & Co.
The YA books, which have been sold to 24 countries around the world, are described as “Ghostbusters meets Sherlock Holmes” and have garnered 35 literary award nominations. The other titles include The Whispering Skull, The Hollow Boy and The Creeping Shadow.
Big Talk, which produced Edgar Wright’s feature hit Baby Driver ($220M+ WW box office), is currently in production on Joe Cornish’s next movie. Previous feature credits include Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.
In television, recent credits include Back (Channel 4/Sundance) and Cold Feet (ITV). The company, owned by ITV, also has produced Rev (BBC), Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), Crashing (Channel 4/Netflix) and A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Sky Arts).
Rachael Prior, Big Talk Head of Film, and Kenton Allen, Big Talk CEO, say they “feel a great affinity” with the Lockwood books’ “distinct Britishness, innovative world building, vibrantly drawn characters and joyful command of genre.” The TV series will be “a highly original, distinctively authored, ghost-detective show to enthrall audiences of all ages.”
Stroud is “hopping with delight at the prospect of Lockwood being brought to the screen by Big Talk… Their unique sensibility blends comedy, adventure and horror beautifully, and is in perfect synthesis with Lockwood’s world. I can’t wait for us to take up our rapiers, salt bombs and iron chains and get to work.”
The deal was brokered by Charlotte Knight of Knight Hall Agency on behalf of Laura Cecil Literary Agency.