The NeverEnding Story To Get New Film Adaptation From Slow Horses Producers

The Neverending Story

by James White |
Published on

Apologies in advance if any eighties kids who watched the original The NeverEnding Story are triggered by the reference to "slow horses" in the headline above (justice for Artax!) But it's all in service of news that See-Saw Films, the company behind The King's Speech and, yes Slow Horses, has the rights to make a new adaptation of Michael Ende's 1979 tome.

For those who didn't grow up traumatised by the tragic interaction of a faithful steed and the Swamp of Sadness in the 1984 fantasy film (directed by Wolfgang Petersen, dontchaknow), here's the basic (NeverEnding) storyline… Ende's tale focuses on shy, young, bookish Bastian who gets threatened a lot by bullies (the kid's name is Bastian, that sort of comes with the territory). Retreating into the relatively safety of an attic and a fictional world, he settles in to read the mysterious, titular fantasy book.

It, in turn, follows the heroic Atréyu and his mission to save the magical realm of Fantastica — chock full of dragons, giants and kingdoms — and its ruler, the Childlike Empress, from being destroyed by force known as "The Nothing." But as he eagerly flips the pages, Bastian begins to realise that he's not just a reader, soon finding himself transported into Fantastica himself, where he befriends and rides a luckdragon known as Falkor (that's his furry frame above).

The film, though it didn't win Ende's approval (he thought it deviated too much from his narrative), spawned two sequels and a couple of short-lived TV versions. It's always been a pop cultural touchstone for many of those who saw it in cinemas, and has more recent been shunted back into general consciousness thanks to Stranger Things' featuring Giorgio Moroder's synth theme.

Now the See-Saw team, who have apparently been considering this for years, are working with the author's estate to develop a potential new franchise. "The story is both timely and timeless, and really has an opportunity to be told in a fresh way,” says See-Saw's Iain Canning, who will produce alongside Emile Sherman. "And part of the specialness of the book is that you can go back to it at different ages in your life and find different levels of meaning. So how wonderful that we have this opportunity to do a fresh perspective that will have new layers and meanings. We just believe that every generation deserves their own journey into Fantastica."

Canning, along with the Ende estate, will now start the process of finding the right filmmakers to help Falkor fly again.

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