Start Media has optioned the film and TV rights to Jonathan Stroud’s fantasy series The Bartimaeus Sequence.
Start's c.e.o. Michael Maher will produce in partnership with New York based S/B Films’ Ella Bishop, Pau Suris and Jake Cheetham, and the deal was brokered by Charlotte Knight of the Knight Hall Agency Ltd on behalf of Stroud’s lit agency, David Higham Associates.
According to Deadline, an earlier deal was signed with Miramax, who bought the rights for $3m in 2002, but the project “proceeded to languish”, despite several script writers, including Hossein Amini, writing drafts. Maher then spent "several years" untangling the rights, said the news report.
Stroud said: "Genies have a habit of reappearing when you least expect it, and I’m thrilled that the Bartimaeus movie adaptation is back on track. Ever since he first materialised 16 years ago, I’ve had fans asking me for updates on the film. So I’m delighted to be working with Michael Maher and the Start Media team and I have great confidence in their vision for this project. I look forward to working closely with them to bring Bart’s adventures to the big screen very soon."
The Bartimaeus Sequence comprises a trilogy of children’s novels (The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate), published between 2003 and 2005, and a prequel, The Ring of Solomon, published in 2010. The story follows a teenage magician called Nathaniel and a 5,000-year-old djinni, the eponymous Bartimaeus, and the books were published in the UK by Penguin Random House.