Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane Acquired by Focus Features & Playtone

Neil Gaiman’s next novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, isn’t out until June, but the movie right have already been scooped up. Deadline reports that Focus Features and Playtone have acquired the project, to be directed by Joe Wright (Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice). A little about the story:

“According to jacket copy, it’s about about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. The narrator describes a tale that begins when he was seven and a lodger stole the family’s car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed — within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.”

The Hundred to Star Eliza Taylor

According to a Deadline exclusive, Australian actress Eliza Taylor (Neighbours) has been cast as the lead, Clarke, on the CW’s futuristic pilot The Hundred about juvenile delinquents trying to recolonize Earth. “Passionate and rebellious, Clarke is one of the ‘delinquents’ sent down to the dangerous world of a post-apocalyptic Earth. As the daughter of the surviving colony’s chief medical officer, she also holds some important secrets.” The Hundred is written and executive produced by Jason Rothenberg, based on books by Kass Morgan.

Scott Gimple to Run The Walking Dead

News broke yesterday that Scott Gimple will be the new (and third) showrunner for The Walking Dead. As THR reports, Gimple joined the show as a writer and executive producer in season two. Other news for season four: Greg Nicotero and Tom Luse have been promoted to executive producer, and Matt Negrete of White Collar has joined the show as writer and co-producer. And hey, we’ve got a quote from the author:

“Scott has been an essential part of this show since he came aboard at the very beginning of season two. He’s contributed to guiding this show in a substantial way that has resulted in a lot of the key scenes and storylines fans have dubbed signature moments of The Walking Dead,” said Robert Kirkman, who created the comics the series is based on. “I am thrilled to begin work on a brand-new season of The Walking Dead with Scott at the helm, and I truly believe we could be embarking on what will be the best season of this show yet.”

The Selection Casts Michael Malarkey as Male Lead

According to an exclusive at The Hollywood Reporter, the CW’s The Selection pilot (based on the novel by Kiera Cass) has cast British actor and relative newcomer Michael Malarkey in the leading role of Prince Maxon. “Malarkey will play Maxon, the charming, self-serving and untrustworthy son of the king and queen who are not pleased with his reckless behavior. He’s thrilled to have a group of young women competing for his affections and is intrigued by the feisty labor class girl America.” This is the role played by Ethan Peck in last year’s pilot.

Classics Club: Emma – 1996 Kate Beckinsale Version

We continue our Emma series with the 1996 TV movie starring Kate Beckinsale. (It was made by ITV; I thought this was shown by Masterpiece Theatre in the States but I guess it was actually A&E! Huh.) This is, by the way, a fun movie for British Actor Bingo, which is basically my favorite game. Knightley is Jim Prideaux from the recent Tinker, Tailor! Frank Churchill is young Scrooge from A Muppet Christmas Carol! Mr. Elton is Jacob Thorne from Law & Order: UK! Everybody’s been on at least three British mystery shows!

This version clocked in at only an hour and 47 minutes, so obviously things had to be compressed a bit to fit all the important parts in. And honestly? I think that helped it. As I wrote, the 1972 version felt like it dragged a bit, and the pace of this one worked much better. It may not be as literally faithful to the novel, but the book is lively and funny and there’s something to be said for preserving that tone. This version has a bit more “action” (in a very mild sense of the term) in general, including church scenes (complete with singing!), two different scenes of chicken theft, and lots of establishing shots of the village and its people. But, somewhat weirdly, a whole extra scene is added at the end, with Knightley hosting a harvest gathering for his friends and tenants. It was a fine scene, but seemed like an odd and unnecessary addition given that parts of the actual book had to be cut out.

Throughout the movie, we saw Emma’s daydreams (and nightmares) play out literally as scenes on the screen – she’d decide Harriet should marry someone and then we’d see their wedding, say – and while I found this a bit disconcerting at first, I wound up really liking it as a strategy for dealing with how much of the narrative really just takes place in Emma’s head. And this set things up really well for Emma’s big revelation that she was in love with Knightley. It was much more effective than simply shots of her in contemplation, but less jarring than the random voiceover that might otherwise be necessary.

The one thing I really didn’t like about this adaptation was its focus on the creepier elements of the age difference between Emma and Knightley. Now, Knightley is, of course, older; that’s well-established in the book and a necessary element to make their story make sense. But in this version, they make Knightley reminisce about holding Emma as an infant. And then he brings it up again while he’s proposing. I am 99% sure that this was not in the book; I was so horrified by it in the movie that I think I would have noticed it in the book. The fact of it isn’t surprising, as we know that Knightley knew Emma from birth, but bringing it up in the middle of a proposal is NOT ROMANTIC and kind of creepy, sir.

Did that jump out at anyone else? Any other thoughts?

BBC America Announces Ten-Part Drama The Musketeers

Well, THIS IS EXCITING. BBC America has announced ten-part drama The Musketeers from Adrian Hodges (My Week with Marilyn, Primeval) and based, of course, on Dumas. The cast includes Luke Pasqualino, Tom Burke, Santiago Cabrera, and Howard Charles as the Musketeers, along with Peter Capaldi, Tamla Kari, Maimie McCoy, and Hugo Speer. It’s a co-production with BBC One and will air in 2014. The description from the press release:

Set on the streets of seventeenth century Paris, where law and order is more an idea than reality, the series follows Musketeers Athos, Aramis and Porthos. They are far more than King Louis XIII’s personal bodyguards. They stand resolutely for social justice, for honor, for valor, for love – and for the thrill of it.

D’Artagnan [Pasqualino], a skilled fighter from rural Gascony, meets the three Musketeers while on a mission to right the wrong of his father’s death. Although he meets the men in unfortunate circumstances, he finds kindred spirits in the other soldiers. Athos [Burke], who has rejected his noble roots to become a Musketeer, has a past shrouded in mystery. He quickly befriends D’Artagnan, but is prone to getting in trouble.

Porthos [Charles] is a larger than life character, who has come from humble beginnings to become a soldier in the most elite regiment in the land, finding a family in the other Musketeers. Never short of admirers, Aramis [Cabrera] has an effortless charm which leads him in and out of love. Despite this, he is a shrewd pragmatist who is ferocious in battle and commands a key place in the brotherhood.

Constance Bonacieux (Kari) leads a dull but comfortable life married to a cloth merchant, but her life is turned upside down when D’Artagnan tumbles into her life, and she becomes involved with The Musketeers.

Cardinal Richlieu (Capaldi), while striving to achieve his vision of a thoroughly modern France, is a shadowy character who will stop at nothing to achieve his objectives. Milady (McCoy) is the Cardinal’s secret weapon, the most mysterious and beautiful of villains whose motives are often concealed.

The King relies on the advice of The Cardinal, his shrewd wife Queen Anne and also Captain Treville (Speer), the brave and respected commander of The Musketeers who keeps an eye on the soldiers to ensure they stay out of trouble. The series bursts with escapism, adventure and romance and is set to thrill audiences with cracking stories.

Tracie Thoms Joins Gothica

Tracie ThomsAccording to Deadline, actress Tracie Thoms of Wonderfalls and The Devil Wears Prada has joined ABC’s Gothic literary mash-up pilot Gothica. But so far, at least, it doesn’t look like her character will be based on a literary classic. She’ll play “Mina, an old friend of Grace [Van Helsing]’s and The Guardian‘s managing editor.” The Guardian is the newspaper owned by the Van Helsing family.

Jill Flint to Guest Star on Elementary

Jill FlintActress Jill Flint of Royal Pains and The Good Wife will guest star on the April 4th episode of contemporary Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary, TV Guide reports. “Flint will play Alysa Darvin, a beguiling young woman who catches the eye of Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) when he helps Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) investigate a heist in the middle of a blizzard.”

Game of Thrones: A Gathering Storm Recap to Air March 8th

Need a Game of Thrones refresher before season three starts on March 31st? HBO has announced that they will air recap special Game of Thrones: A Gathering Storm on Friday, March 8th at 9:45/8:45c. And here’s a teaser for the recap, which is I think not a phrase I have ever had occasion to write before:

To My Future Assistant to Star Brittany Snow

Brittany SnowFox’s comedy pilot To My Future Assistant will star actress Brittany Snow of Harry’s Law and Pitch Perfect, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The pilot is based on the blog and forthcoming book To My Assistant by Lydia Whitlock, about assistants at a big law firm dealing with their overbearing bosses. “Snow will star as Jen, a pretty, athletic, ambitious and tightly wound aspiring attorney who just passed the bar and is hoping for a promotion.”