It's well over a year since the hard-fought auction that eventially saw Universal bag the rights to the teen paranormal romance Daughter Of Smoke And Bone. The film's development has just taken a big step forward however, with the arrival of Stuart Beattie (Pirates Of The Caribbean, 30 Days Of Night) to write the screenplay, adapting Laini Taylor's novel. Joe Roth (Oz The Great And Powerful, Snow White And The Huntsman) is the producer.
A clear bid to capture the Twilight demographic now that Twilight is done, Daughter Of Smoke And Bone involves angels and demons and forbidden love in Prague. 17-year-old art student Karou has tattoos, knows kung-fu, and has blue hair (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, for reasons best known to themselves, 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. 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 - but which side is which?
Universal won the property for a steep six figures, so obviously believe it has epic potential. Taylor, whose follow-up Days Of Blood And Starlight was published last November (it's a trilogy, so a third is on the way too), enthuses that, "Between Stuart, Joe Roth, and Universal Pictures, we’ve got a team with massive epic flair, and I can’t wait to see what unfolds as we move toward bringing Karou, Akiva... and the world of Daughter Of Smoke And Bone to the screen."
For our money, the series is a good bit better than the somewhat similar Mortal Instruments (also headed to the screen and due to arrive this year) and about 95% less mopey and 410% more action-packed than Twilight. We'll be interested to see how they handle some of the more exotic characters in the line-up: with lots of half-man, half-beast figures, we'll be hoping for cool make-up jobs rather than endless CG.
Beattie has also been at work on David Yates' Tarzan, and his I, Frankenstein (which he also directed) is out in the UK on September 18.