Universal Snatches Up Rights to Novel Manuscript Demonologist
Hollywood's not through with demons yet. Deadline reveals that Universal has just acquired the rights to an unpublished novel called Demonologist by Canadian author Andrew Pyper. Its story centers on a professor whose area of expertise is John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, which explores the Fall of Man. Though well versed on the folly of Adam and Eve when it came to Satan, this professor find his world ripped asunder when a free trip to Italy leads to a demonic spirit seemingly murdering his daughter. Now, he's on a quest to get her back from the dark forces he doesn't fully understand.
The novel's publication rights will be sold at auction shortly, and Pyper has told fans via his website that he hopes it will be in print in the U.K. by mid-October. Knowing nothing but the title of the novel it's easy to assume it's a horror story, but with ImageMovers' Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey and Robert Zemeckis attached to produce, we can probably assumeDemonologist will be adapted more in the vein of an adventure-thriller. Their slate to date has favored PG or PG-13 adventure movies like Cast Away, Monster House and Beowulf, so it seems likely they'll look to emphasize the globetrotting and intrepid aspects of the book-- maybe a thrill-ride akin to The Da Vinci Code, which dealt with nefarious and spiritual elements but kept the gore relatively family-friendly.
I haven't read Pyper's works yet, but Universal is not alone in thinking the novelist's works are ripe for movie versions. According to his bio page, three of his other books are currently in development for their feature film debuts. Producer Steven Hoban (Ginger Snaps, Splice) is looking to adapt Pyper's first novel, the Canadian national best-seller Lost Girls that centers on a small town murder case, with Pyper attached to pen the screenplay. His third novel, the hunting season thriller The Wildfire Season, is being developed by Chris Moore (The Adjustment Bureau, American Reunion), while his fourth, a murder mystery called The Killing Circle, is being adapted by Cowboy Films (How I Live Now, The Last King of Scotland) with Justin Chadwick, the director of The Other Boleyn Girl, attached to helm. With so much in the works, it'll be interesting to see which of these would-be features makes it out of development first, and how its fate will affect the others.
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