Gormenghast Lands At Showtime

by Erik Amaya

Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman’s Gormenghast adaptation has a home.

Deadline reports Showtime has given the project a “script to series commitment;” meaning they will order the series if they like the first script. A writers’ room has also opened, presumably to write those scripts the series will need as production ramps up.

Based on Mervyn Peake’s gothic fantasy book series, Gormenghast, the series traces the life of Titus Groan, the 77th Earl of Groan. He is a reluctant heir, but one who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom, unless the charismatic, but twisted Steerpike rises above his kitchen boy station to take control of the House of Groan. Titus comes to realize that the fortress isn’t simply a castle stifled by traditions, but a legacy that provides him with the foundations to survive and thrive in the world outside the castle walls.

Last year, FremantleMedia North America optioned the TV rights to the novels, with Sandman writer Neil Gaiman and A Beautiful Mind screenwriter Akiva Goldsman signing on as executive producers. “There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels,” said Gaiman at the time. “They were crafted by a master, who was also an artist, and they take us to an ancient castle as big as a city, with heroes and villains and people larger than life that are impossible to forget. There is a reason why there were two trilogies that lovers of the fantasy genre embraced in the Sixties: Lord of the Rings, and the Gormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.”

Showtime’s decision to pick up the project indicates fantasy will be a big genre in the 2020s. Besides Gormenghast, The Lord of the Rings, Frank Miller’s upcoming Cursed and Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time are all on their way to cable channels or streaming services in the years to come.

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