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Disney Nabs Rights to Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’

Written by on April 27, 2012 

Update: Deadline now reports that Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) will be directing The Graveyard Book for Disney after he completes a “top secret film” for Pixar. There’s never been any indication that Selick was directly developing a film with the studio, though it’s been said he did some consulting with them over his own, independent project. (I’ll chalk up this one aspect to some kind of miscommunication.) Read the original story as follows.

Neil Gaiman‘s wildly successful children’s book titled The Graveyard Book is finally getting the Hollywood treatment after its release back in 2010. According to Deadline, in a huge six figure deal, Disney has acquired the rights to the book in hopes of making it into a film.

The book has won numerous prizes, including the Newberry Medal, and is actually a riff on Rudyard Kipling‘s The Jungle Book (which is getting its own live-action update from WB). As opposed to telling the story of a boy raised by wolves in the jungle, Gaiman‘s tells the story of the “last surviving child of a murdered family raised by ghosts in a graveyard.”

I’m actually surprised it took Disney, or any other studio for that matter, this long to obtain the rights to this book considering Gaiman‘s other works — he also wrote Coraline, The Sandman and American Gods. However, it seems that this project was a highly desired one, as UK Effects House Framestore paid a large sum originally and attached Neil Jordan to direct; but, that never seemed to get past their initial deal.

If you’re looking for a little more information on the book, check out the synopsis below (via Amazon):

It takes a graveyard to raise a child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

I get a Coraline mixed with Nightmare Before Christmas vibe from the cover art of the novel and the “raised by ghosts” plotline. I’m a fan of both those films, so I’m interested in seeing what Disney does with their newly acquired rights. I’m hoping they choose to go with a similar animation style as Coraline, seeing as that could be the most accessible and perhaps best fitting.

What would you like to see come of The Graveyard Book?

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