Gerard Butler, Neal Moritz Team to Adapt Fantasy Novel 'A Darker Shade of Magic' (Exclusive)

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Tor Books; Todd Williamson/Getty Images
Gerard Butler, 'A Darker Shade of Magic,' Neal Moritz

Sony won a bidding war for the rights to the Victoria Schwab novel.

Sony is conjuring up an adaptation of the YA fantasy novel A Darker Shade of Magic.

The studio has won a bidding war and is in negotiations to pick up the rights to Victoria Schwab's fantasy series.

Gerard Butler is on board to produce the adaptation via his shingle, G-Base, along with the company's Alan Siegel and Danielle Robinson. Neal Moritz, who has a first-look deal at Sony, also will produce, as will Schwab.

Darker Shade centers on Kell, a magician who has the ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city, in this case London. Kell can travel between four parallel worlds within London, including Grey London, where residents believe magic is a myth, Red London (where magic is revered), White London (where magic is battled over) and the dark Black London, where magic has overpowered the people. When Kell meets Delilah Bard, a London pickpocket, he's whisked into a universe-hopping adventure.

The book first hit shelves in February 2015, and the rights were available at that time, but it was only over the past couple weeks that a bidding war broke out. The studio beat out Fox 2000 and eOne as well as Lionsgate, according to sources.

Schwab followed A Darker Shade of Magic with two other books in the series: A Gathering of Shadows in 2016 and A Conjuring of Light, which just hit shelves on Feb. 21 of this year. The trilogy could be ideal for a film franchise as the second and third installments expand on the magical world introduced in Schwab's first book. Filmmakers are said to be already lining up for a chance to put their stamp on this fantasy.

Toby Ascher is executive producing. Exec Matt Milam and Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch will oversee on behalf of the studio.

Moritz last produced Passengers, the sci-fi movie that starred Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, and next has The Fate of the Furious, which opens in April.

Butler, as an actor, has two movies in the can: environmental disaster movie Geostorm and action thriller Hunter Killer. He acts as a producer on the latter.

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