The company has optioned the book, which was published in 2014 by Corgi, will be developed as a hybrid of live action and animation.
Submarine co-founder Femke Wolting told Deadline that it is talking to a few writers before taking the project out to pitch.
Echo Boy is a murder mystery set in the future in a world of robots. It takes place in the year 2115, when the life of teenager Audrey Castle is shattered after her parents are murdered by a malfunctioning Echo — humanoid robots designed to assist with every aspect of daily life. However, when Audrey crosses paths with a thinking, feeling Echo prototype named Daniel, she is forced to grapple with her prejudices, fears, and the idea of what it means to be human.
Tommy Pallotta, who co-developed the animation technique used in A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life and Undone, is partnering on the project.
Wolting said, “It’s set 100 years in the future and the world that Matt Haig describes is very striking and unique and we think with animation we have the chance to make something that is visually stunning but still has the intimacy of the actors.”
Matt Haig added that he was excited that it is being developed as a series. “It is a novel with a level of scope and ambition which needs to be factored into the adaptation, and I am confident Submarine’s visual flair and imaginative creativity make them equal to the challenge. It is the perfect home.”
Submarine, which has the largest animation studio in the Netherlands, has been expanding its global reach with a slew of series and films. It recently finished live-action shooting on Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure for Netflix and will now pick up the animation side of things.
The company has also shot the live-action aspects for the first two episodes of Undone’s second season. The show, which stars Rosa Salazar as Alma, who treks across time, space, and beyond to solve the mystery of her father’s death, was renewed by Amazon at the end of last year.
Wolting said it was able to shoot in LA with a very small crew over the last two weeks. “We’re really lucky that this kind of hybrid form of live-action and animation, during Corona times, can be more manageable to shoot. Because you’re animating over it, you can get away with more and then animation can just continue remotely,” she said.
She added that it would continue with this hybrid approach, particularly as COVID-19 continues to spread. “That’s why we’re focusing on a number of projects in this form because even if the pandemic might take another year, we can still move forward and do it in many ways and genres.”