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Max Landis, IDW Adapting Novel 'Dirk Gently' (Exclusive)

UPDATED: The project marks the latest to spring from the comic publisher's deal with Circle of Confusion.

Max Landis Headshot - P 2014
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Max Landis

Max Landis is teaming with IDW to bring supernatural detective Dick Gently to the small screen.

IDW and Ideate Media have optioned worldwide rights to Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency novels.

The character was first introduced in 1987 with Adams' graphic novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. The story centers on the titular holistic detective who investigates cases involving the supernatural. 

IDWE and Ideate have formed a partnership to co-fund development and co-produce with the plan to secure a direct-to-series commitment. Circle of Confusion will executive produce.

Landis, who has become a go-to film writer among the studios after penning the breakout Chronicle, will write the pilot and executive produce.

STORY Comics Publisher IDW Launches TV Division With 'Walking Dead' EP Attached

The deal marks the latest small-screen project for IDW, who in October launched its TV division with Circle of Confusion overseeing packaging and creative development. The banner also has a first-look deal with Entertainment One. Under that pact, the comics publisher is developing V-Wars, which has a direct-to-series option attached.

After creating the phenomenon that was The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, Adams went on to write a series of best-selling novels about Dirk Gently, a detective with a belief in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, a unique relationship with the laws of probability and physics and a love of cats and pizza.

"Alongside the obvious yada yada, I'm a lifelong fan, Long Dark Teatime of The Soul (the second Dirk Gently novel) is one of the best books ever,” Landis said. “Douglas Adams is a visionary who forever changed the way science fiction is written and talked about and even thought about and even the way real actual science is thought about and without whom our culture would be noticeably different for the worse. I'd also just like to say holy crap, it's Dirk Gently."

He continued: This is any writer's ultimate project, and in the current TV space, it fits ridiculously well. Imagine a playground where you could come with any mystery, no matter how improbable, convoluted or totally insane and then, simply by finding the right connections, you could tie it all down to one man, one private eye. If you're familiar with the property, you know: there's no freaking rules. Ancient gods? Sure. Larceny and petty crimes? Of course. Extra-dimensional aliens? I mean, probably; as long as you can make it funny, Dirk's on the case. This is a dream project of mine, no joke, and I absolutely positively couldn't be happier."

Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW, Arvind Ethan David and Zainir Aminullah of Ideate and David Alpert and Rick Jacobs from Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead) will serve as executive producers. 

“Max is one of Hollywood’s most brilliant writers and represents the ideal voice in bringing Dirk Gently to television,” Ozer said.

David, head of production and development at Ideate, was a friend and protégé of Adams' and brokered the deal with the estate.

“As a student at Oxford, I directed and co-wrote a theatre adaptation of Dirk Gently," David said. "To my amazement, Douglas himself came to see the show -- and he liked it and helped launch my career. Almost 20 years later, to return to Dirk, and to add the mad genius of Max Landis to the mad genius of Douglas Adams, is a dream come true and proof of what Douglas -- and Dirk -- would describe as ‘the fundamental interconnectedness of all things,’”

In addition to the television series, IDW and Ideate will develop a series of Dirk Gently comic books for release next spring.

“Douglas Adams himself always maintained that his Dirk Gently novels had much greater dramatic potential than his better known Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series," said Ed Victor, Douglas Adams’ longtime agent and friend. "I think he is about to be proven right -- yet again."

Landis, repped by WME, Circle of Confusion and attorney Howard Abramson, also wrote the upcoming Jesse Eisenberg-Kristen Stewart thriller American Ultra and a redo of Frankenstein for 20th Century Fox. He will also make his directorial debut with the comedy Me, Him, Her starring Haley Joel Osment and Geena Davis in 2015.

Landis' Dirk Gently will mark the second time the title has been adapted for TV. The graphic novel spawned a British TV series on BBC Four, which ran from 2010-12.

E-mail: Tatiana.Siegel@THR.com
Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27

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