Dave McNary / Variety
Vancouver-based Thunderbird and Australia’s Sandpiper Entertainment are developing a feature film based on Arthur Slade’s steampunk novel The Hunchback Assignments.
ScreenWest, the Western Australia government’s film and television agency, is funding initial script development with Thunderbird. Sandpiper’s Paul Barron is working with Thunderbird’s Alex Raffé on the project.
The working title of the film is Modo, taken from the principal character’s name of a hunchbacked shapeshifter at the center of the first novel and its sequels.
Modo is rescued as a child in a traveling freak show and raised in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself and, with another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockwork Guild behind the murders of important men.
“Arthur Slade has created a unique world, an action-filled steampunk adventure with compelling young adult characters that will resonate with audiences worldwide,” Raffe said.
Barron’s recent credits include creating, writing for and producing Parallax, Space Channel’s Stormworld and Serangoon Road. Raffe’s credits include I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing and the series Some Assembly Required and Mr. Young.
The Thunderbird group of companies includes Vancouver-based Reunion Pictures, Great Pacific Media and Atomic Cartoons, U.K.-based theatrical distributor Soda Pictures, and the Sea to Sky Entertainment joint venture with Lionsgate for creating content for the U.S. and international market.
Sandpiper’s credits include Max von Sydow’s Father, Shame and Blackfellas along with the series Ship to Shore and Kings in Grass Castles. Thunderbird’s Frank Giustra and Tim Gabmle are exec producers on Alcon’s upcoming Blade Runner sequel.
APA made the deal on behalf of Scott Treimel.