Neil Gaiman will executive produce a new television series based on author Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels.
The series, being developed by Showtime, will also see creator and showrunner Toby Whithouse, Akiva Goldsman Dante Di Loreto, Oliver Jones, Barry Spikings ("The Deer Hunter") and David Stern ("Howards End") join Good Omens co-author Gaiman as executive producers.
Based on Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy, Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone, the author was at work on a fourth installment, Titus Awakes, at the time of his death in 1968. His widow, Maeve Gilmore, completed the book, which was published in 2011. Rights were acquired from Jonathan Sissons at PFD.
The project has a script-to-series order and is opening a writers room under creator and showrunner Whithouse ("Being Human", "Doctor Who").
Gaiman‘s involvement in the big budget series does not conflict with his overall deal with Amazon, which most recently adapted his and Terry Pratchett's hit 1990 novel Good Omens (Corgi). Gaiman said: "The joy of trying to describe Gormenghast to people is one where words will fail you and that’s why there have been people who wanted to film Gormenghast ever since Peake wrote the first book.
"The joy of trying to describe Gormenghast to people is one where words will fail you and that’s why there have been people who wanted to film Gormenghast ever since Peake wrote the first book. The BBC once tried but they were all making it in times when depicting the impossible on the screen was too difficult. The great thing now is that we can make it and actually show it and take you there. We are now in a world where you can put the impossible on screen and with Gormenghast, you’re not just dealing with a castle the size of a city but dealing with these incredibly glorious and memorable people.”
How much of Peake’s novels will appear in each season is yet to be decided. Whithouse added: “The way that television just absolutely devours narrative means that it could be that we get [the first two] books into season one or much like American Gods, where season one ends halfway through the book.
The series marks the first adaptation of Peake’s novels, published by Vintage, since the BBC adapted the first two books in 2000 as a four-part series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee.