'Kung Fu Panda' Director Mark Osborne Tackling Adaptation of Cult Comic 'Bone' (Exclusive)

At the same time, Adam Kline ('Artemis Fowl') has been tapped to co-write the script with Osborne.
Getty Images; Courtesy of Cartoon Books
Mark Osborne

Mark Osborne, fresh off directing The Little Prince, has come aboard to tackle Warner Bros.’ animated adaptation of Bone, the Eisner-winning comic series from Jeff Smith.

Adam Kline has been tapped to co-write the script with Osborne, who is developing the project as a directing vehicle. The moves re-energize the adaptation for the studio, which first picked up the rights around 2008.

Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures is producing with Animal Logic’s Zareh Nalbandian with the goal of making a trilogy of animated feature films.

The comic told of three Bone cousins — Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, all small, bald and humanlike creatures with big noses — who are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert after being run out of Boneville. One by one they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures.

The comics were published from 1991 to 2004 and then rediscovered by a new and more mainstream generation when Scholastic began releasing them in graphic novel form.

Bone is very special and unconventional because it blends elements together that you don’t necessarily expect — soft, little comic characters and epic high-stakes fantasy adventure," Osborne tells The Hollywood Reporter. "To carry this into the cinematic realm presents both an opportunity to represent what readers of all ages have loved about the series, while pushing animated storytelling into exciting and different areas."

Osborne will act as an executive producer, as will Lin Pictures’ Mark Bauch.

"As source material goes, Jeff's epic is something of a unicorn: mythic, whimsical and pure in equal measure," says Kline.

P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding) was previously attached to direct while Patrick Sean Smith, who created the ABC Family show Greek, was writing the script.

Osborne has twice seen his work nominated for an Oscar. He snagged nominations for his 1999 animated short, More, and for 2008’s Kung Fu Panda, the latter which he co-directed with John Stevenson. Panda kicked up $631 million at the box office and launched a key franchise for DreamWorks Animation.

Osborne is now angling for another nomination with Little Prince, his well-regarded adaptation of the timeless all-ages novel that was released this summer by Netflix.

Osborne is repped by UTA. Klein is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.

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