DreamWorks has picked up the movie rights to Leigh Bardugo’s bestseller Shadow and Bone, about an orphan girl whose ability to harness a rare magic makes her one of her nation’s most coveted warriors.
Holly Bario, DreamWorks’ president of production, will announce the acquisition later today, and although every studio would like to grab a fresh YA book series in the hope that it can be turned into the next Harry Potter-style film franchise, not every film has the actual producer of the Potter movies overseeing it.
Shadow and Bone would be the exception.
David Heyman, who in the late ’90s had the wise instinct to secure the film rights to J.K. Rowling’s wizard-verse, will produce Shadow and Bone, along with Jeffrey Clifford (Up in the Air), who is president of his Heymaker Films.
The book, which debuted in June, is set in a fantasy version of Russia called Ravka, which is bisected by a territory called the Shadow Fold, brimming with a breed of flying fiends who feast on human flesh. The leadership of Ravka studies children to find those who can wield the power of the elements — fire, wind, water — or can mystically heal, then recruits these powerful young ones into the elite monster-fighting squad known as The Grisha, while all others are conscripted into brutal life in the regular army.
Alina Starkov is one of the latter — a seeming nobody who serves as a mere cartographer until her best friend, Mal, is wounded in an attack, triggering her latent ability to harness the power of light. Not many others in Ravka can do that, and Alina becomes both a prize and a target due to her rare abilities.
It’s not clear yet who would direct the project, or adapt the screenplay, and since the deal just closed there’s not yet a firm timeline for getting the film into production and out into theaters.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Bardugo’s planned “Grisha Trilogy,” so DreamWorks could have a whole series on its hands if the film finds an audience.
Bardugo’s next book in the series will be called Siege and Storm, with a planned release date of June 2013, while an as-yet-untitled third installment is due out in summer 2014.
Check out the trailer for Shadow and Bone below: