UPDATE: So after all that, it was actually Universal that bagged the franchise, leaving Paramount to stomp home empty-handed. Author Laini Taylor says, "It is a hugely thrilling prospect to think about Universal and filmmakers translating my world onscreen and giving it a second life in such a grand way. I'm over the moon."
With only one more Twilight film to go, everyone's on the look out for the next big paranormal romance to entice the tweens and the moms and the grannies into pan-generational emo family cinema outings. At Paramount, top of the wish-list looks to be Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, Laini Taylor's twisted kids' novel of angels and demons and forbidden love in Prague, which the studio is negotiating to pick up for a reported six-figure sum.
The book, published in September and intended as the first in a series, revolves around 17-year-old art student Karou, who has tattoos and knows kung-fu, and has genuinely blue hair (i. e. she doesn't dye it: it grows blue out of her head). Her background is a mystery, and she has been adopted and raised by demons - "Chimaera" - who occasionally require her to go on errands through portals and collect teeth.
On one of these missions she encounters the angel Akiva, who's been tasked with putting a stop to the illegal supernatural denture trade, but who doesn't kill Karou because she reminds him of his lost love. And their burgeoning affair coincides with the appearance all over Prague of a black-hand symbol, heralding a war between the cosmic forces of good and evil.
The book's first lines are "Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well." It doesn't quite turn out like Preacher though.
Large-canvas stuff then, but grounded in a gothic romance. And that's precisely what piqued Paramount's interest. Deadline report that the studio was willing to fight for the property, for its "potential for big-scale, visual effects-driven fantasy that can connect with a young audience", not to mention its likely expansion to franchise size.
It doesn't sound as if the deal is quite done, but it's firmly on the table. We'll keep you posted. The novel is currently available in the UK in hardcover from Hodder and Stoughton.