EXCLUSIVE: After making her bones scripting such films as Venom, Saving Mr. Banks and the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed Fifty Shades of Grey, Kelly Marcel is making the jump to directing. Legendary Entertainment has closed a deal with Marcel to adapt, direct and produce Claire McFall’s novel Ferryman, the first book in her award-winning YA trilogy.
Ferryman was originally published in the UK by Templar in 2013 and won the Scottish Teen Book Award, was longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. It is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman of Hades who transported souls to the underworld. Ferryman follows a young girl named Dylan as she emerges from the debris of a train crash on an empty Scottish landscape. Believing herself to be the only survivor, she learns instead that she is the only fatality – and is trapped in a dangerous limbo. She meets a mysterious boy named Tristan, her “ferryman,” sent to guide her through the wasteland and into the afterlife, but they fall in love with perilous consequences.
The book trilogy has an exceptional global following. The Chinese edition of Ferryman was published in June 2015 and became a national sensation; by October of that year it had already received some 90,000 reviews on Dangdang, one of China’s biggest online retailers, and entered the Top 10 fiction charts and stayed there two years. It was the top selling e-book in China in 2016 and fourth across all formats there, selling north of 1 million copies.
The second book in the trilogy, Trespassers, was published in September 2017 and quickly became a bestseller. The final book will be published in the spring.
BAFTA-nominee Marcel is currently executive producing and writing the sequel to Venom for Tom Hardy to reprise. She’s represented by WME, UK-based Casarotto Ramsay & Associates and Sloane Offer.