February 28, 2013 8:11am PT by Tatiana Siegel
Mikael Hafstrom to Direct Film Adaptation of YA Novel 'Tunnels' for Relativity
Mikael Hafstrom has signed on to direct a big-screen adaptation of the best-selling fantasy adventure novel Tunnels for Relativity Media.
The YA book, written by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, has sold more than 1 million copies for Scholastic/Chicken House and has been published in nearly 40 countries worldwide. The authors have already completed five sequels, with the sixth and final book in the series, Terminal, to be published in the United States in the fall.
Andrew Lobel is adapting the screenplay. Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist penned a previous draft.
Tunnels takes place beneath the streets of London, where two teenage boys discover a hidden world and its secret civilization that has been desperately waiting for a hero to save them. The deeper they go, the closer they get to unearthing an evil that could destroy the world above and put an end to the lives they once lived.
The property was discovered by Barry Cunningham, the man credited with first spotting Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and whose boutique Chicken House imprint is part of Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, including the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series.
Mark Canton, Neil Canton and Danny Davids are producing alongside Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley will executive produce with Kelly Dennis. Atmosphere’s David Hopwood will serve as co-producer.
“The originality of the book and its sequels, which uniquely combine the adventure of Indiana Jones with the magic of Narnia, along with its franchise potential, is what attracted Relativity, Neil, Danny and myself to Tunnels and I’m delighted to be producing it with them,” said Mark Canton, who recently finished The Tomb with Hafstrom.
Relativity’s Jason Barhydt will oversee the project for the studio.
Relativity’s most recent film is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling Safe Haven. Up next, the company will release the comedy 21 and Over (March 1) and the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia (Oct. 4).
Hafstrom, whose credits also include 1408, is represented by WME. Lobel is handled by WME and Madhouse Entertainment.
Email: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com, Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27