Mike Newell opens 'Box of Delights'

Will direct Brilliant Films' adaptation of children's book

LONDON -- Mike Newell, who's tackled fantasy before with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," has signed on to direct Brilliant Films' adaptation of the children's classic "The Box of Delights," based on the 1935 novel by John Masefield.

Brilliant, which announced the project Monday, is funding the development of the project through their own fund and the project is the latest fruit of Brilliant's relationship with U.K. talent agency Independent.

Sarah Radclyffe, Courtney Pledger, and Esther Douglas are attached to produce "Delights" while Brilliant Films president Joe Abrams and Rory Gilmartin will executive produce alongside Newell. Frank Cottrell Boyce ("24 Hour Party People") is adapting the screenplay.

The fantasy adventure, originally published in 1935 and first adapted for U.K. radio 50 years ago, was made into a BBC television series in the 1980s. The story sees 12-year-old Kay caught up in a magical world when he finds himself in possession of a time-travelling device, the box of delights, which also places him in grave danger.

"We are thrilled to have Mike and Frank working together on this project. Both are truly exceptional talents," Abrams said. "And John Masefield's original story is one of those timeless flights of fantasy, playing as well to children today as it did on its original release."

Newell said he had been "immediately seduced" by the atmospheric radio production as a child, but hoped to update it for a new audience.

"I want to recreate, for today's much savvier children (and their parents), my childhood feelings of excitement, wonder and terror," he said.