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Joe Wright To Direct Adaptation Of Neil Gaiman's 'The Ocean At The End Of The Lane'

by Kevin Jagernauth
February 28, 2013 8:13 PM
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Joe Wright The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

Trying to predict what Joe Wright will do next is a fool's errand. The director has moved effortlessly from literary adaptations ("Pride & Prejudice") to WWII sagas ("Atonement") to assassin thrillers ("Hanna") to Powell & Pressburger-styled melodrama ("Anna Karenina") with ease. But making a fantasy has long been an itch he's been eager to scratch, and a new version of "The Little Mermaid" was once something he was eager to do (though the recent run of fairy tales movies has taken a bit of his enthusiasm out of doing it). But now he's latched onto something that could finally see him take on the fantasy genre.

Deadline reports that Focus Features and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone are snapping up the rights to Neil Gaiman's upcoming novel "The Ocean At The End Of The Lane," and Joe Wright is attached to direct. Sounds perfect to us. And the description of the book makes it sound like there will be plenty of opportunity for the always visually inventive Wright to have a lot of fun:

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when he was seven: the lodger stole the family's car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed -- within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. 

His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac -- as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

No word yet on who is actually adapting the book and writing the script, so this could still be a bit of a ways off. But nonetheless, it's pretty damn exciting for both Wright and Gaiman fans alike.

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  • Stoney Lodge | March 1, 2013 3:59 AMReply

    But Anna Karenina is also a literary adaptation, no?

  • sg | February 28, 2013 9:28 PMReply

    This sounds like a perfect fit. Maybe with a man in the lead, Wright can finally get the respect he deserves (lets all pretend the Soloist didn't happen). Nice to know there will be 3 major female characters as well.

  • SG | March 1, 2013 9:51 PM

    No, he's not. He's written off as a "girly" Oscar bait director in a lot of circles. Think of all the directors critics/fanboys salivate over and then count how many of their films had women in the lead. PTA? Zero. Steve McQueen? Zero. Refn? Zero. James Gray? Zero. Cronenberg? Zero. Scorsese in the last 20 years? Zero. Nolan? Zero. Hillcoat? Zero. The Coens? Zero. Jarmusch? Zero. Lets not pretend like there isn't a gender bias here. Films permeated with masculinity are given much, much more weight. And for the record, I think Joe Wright is one of the most talented directors working today and I LOVE that he makes films with women at the forefront because I am one.

  • AD | March 1, 2013 1:00 PM

    A man in the lead? So a director can only gain respect if a man is in the lead? I think Joe Wright is a well respect director and I appreciate him even more because he likes to a have mostly female leads.

  • oogle monster | February 28, 2013 8:24 PMReply

    Anna Karenina was so damn good. SO much better than the miserable Les Miz. He deserved a director nomination for Atonement AND Hanna. Love him and glad to see Focus is sticking by his side.

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