By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 22, 2012 at 10:45AM
Few producers can claim to have the track record of David Heyman. The son of veteran producers John and Norma Heyman, he was behind a couple of projects in the 1990s -- Tupac Shakur vehicle "Juice" and underrated cannibal tale "Ravenous" among them -- but came to fame as the smart cookie who optioned J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" for the big screen. Pairing with Warner Bros, he shepherded the book and its six sequels to an eight-film run of mega-grossers: each entry in the series is among the 35 all time top-grossers.
He's had some big successes away from the Potter world, including "I Am Legend" and "The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas," and has lots more in the works, including Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity," which is next up. But with Hogwarts firmly in the past, he's looking for his next phenomenon, and has just hired a screenwriter for one of the possibilites. Heat Vision report that the producer has employed Moira Buffini, a playwright who won acclaim with her adaptation of "Jane Eyre" for Cary Fukunaga last year, to adapt Erin Morgenstern's fantasy novel "The Night Circus."
The book, which became an acclaimed best-seller on its release last fall, involves the two rival magicians who work at a fantastical circus that only exists between dusk and dawn, and their proteges, who fall in love, threatening the existence of the circus. Summit acquired the rights before publication, a year ago, and Heyman and Jeff Clifford ("Up In The Air") are producing. While Buffini's had mixed success -- she also penned the disappointing "Tamara Drewe" -- she's a good writer, and an excellent fit for the material. She's already honed her fantasy chops on Neil Jordan's upcoming vampire tale "Byzantium." It's still in early days, but the project is off to a good start.