Disney is the fourth studio to purchase the rights to the 2008 book.
The novel, by veteran novelist, screenwriter, and graphic novel creator Niel Gaiman, was first picked up by Miramax, then by 1492 Productions, and most recently by Framestore. Now that Disney has it, however, it’s unlikely to stall again. They’ve handed the project over to Gil Netter, who just finished producing Life of Pi.
The Graveyard Book is a cross-demographic urban fantasy novel, which itself is based on a previous short story of Gaiman’s called The Witch’s Headstone. It tells the story of a small boy, Bod, who, having lost his parents, finds himself living in a graveyard, being raised by the ghosts of those who are buried there, whom only he can see. The ghosts are able to teach him to do ghost things, like walk through walls.
Inspired by the classic children’s book The Jungle Book – as the title implies – the novel expands the story to cover the boy’s adolescence, during which he is hunted by the serial killer who murdered the rest of his family, telling the story of living with ghosts in serialized fashion, each section giving a different adventure as Bod grows up. The book won 2008’s Newberry Medal for distinguished contributions to children’s literature.
Niel Gaiman is also the author of the books behind the films Coralline and Stardust, both of which received great critical and box office receptions.
It is unknown whether The Graveyard Book will be animated, and there are, as yet, no production or release dates announced.