12:52pm PT by Rebecca Ford
Stephen Daldry to Direct Fantasy Film 'The Wonderling' for Fox 2000 (Exclusive)
In a very competitive situation, Fox 2000 has bought the film rights to The Wonderling, based on a partial manuscript by Mira Bartok.
Stephen Daldry is attached to direct the film adaptation.
The Wonderling is a middle grade fantasy novel set in a futuristic Victorian land. Society is ruled by the High Hats, while the Groundlings, animal-human hybrids, live in servitude, working in underground factories in the City Below the City.
The main character is a shy, one-eared fox-like character known only as Number Thirteen who, with the help of his bird-friend Trinket, escapes an orphanage to go on a remarkable journey. The Wonderling is a planned trilogy.
Studios were so hot on this story that the film rights sold even before the book rights have been locked up.
Bartok wrote the 2011 book The Memory Place: A Memoir, which was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. She also wrote The Ancient and Living Culture Series, a middle grade interactive book series about world cultures.
Daldry, a Tony-winning and Oscar nominated director, helmed 2000's Billy Elliot, 2002's The Hours, 2008's The Reader, 2011's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and 2014's Trash with Rooney Mara. He's also a prolific theater director, including productions of Skylight and The Audience on Broadway this summer. He's currently working on The Crown, a Netflix series centering on the weekly audiences given by Queen Elizabeth II to prime ministers.
Daldry is repped by CAA, and the agency also repped Bartok in the film rights deal. Her publishing agent is Zachary Schuster Harmsworth.