After a heated auction for the rights a couple of years ago, Universal were the winners of the opportunity to bring Laini Taylor's twisted young adult novel A Daughter Of Smoke And Bone to the screen. After a quiet development period while Stuart Beattie (Collateral) cracked the screenplay, the film finally has a director. Michael Gracey will be calling the shots on Taylor's tale of angels and demons and forbidden love in Prague. Joe Roth (Snow White & The Huntsman, Oz The Great & Powerful) is producing.
It's one of several projects in the works for Gracey, who has a professional history in digital FX but has yet to make his directorial debut. He's also attached to the Jim Henson biopic The Muppet Man and the PT Barrnum pic The Greatest Showman On Earth, produced by and starring Hugh Jackman. But his first completed feature looks likely to be the Elton John-based Rocketman, which is currently in pre-production.
Daughter Of Smoke And Bone was published in September 2011 and is, of course, the first in a series (followed by Days Of Blood And Starlight and the forthcoming Dreams Of Gods And Monsters). It 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, for mysterious reasons.
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.
Large-canvas stuff then, but grounded in a Twilight demographic-friendly gothic romance - and the books are a good bit more fun than, say, The Mortal Instruments for our money. No wonder Universal's interest was piqued.
"It is a hugely thrilling prospect to think about filmmakers translating my world onscreen and giving it a second life in such a grand way. I'm over the moon," says Taylor. Her books are published in the UK by Hodder, and the third one is out next spring. Gracey's movie is a bit further off.