Award-winning writer Neil Gaiman, whose works Coraline and Stardust have been turned into films in recent years, has signed on to write the scripts for an epic $300 million series of 3D feature films adapted from the ancient Chinese folk tale Journey to the West.
The classic 16th century fantasy follows the misadventures of the Monkey King as he journeys from China to India with his companions to retrieve Buddha’s scrolls and gain enlightenment.
Gaiman will collaborate with one of China’s most prominent TV producers, Zhang Jizhong, on the project and once the outline is written, they are hoping to secure a high profile director and financial support from Hollywood studios. Guillermo del Toro is said to be top of their wish list to direct at least one of the films and James Cameron will be on hand to advise on matters including the 3D technology.
Gaiman travelled to China recently for inspiration and to discuss with Jizhong which elements of the 2,000 page story would transfer well to the big screen. The initial plan is for a trilogy, with production taking place in China and both Chinese and Western actors appearing.
Neil Gaiman is well known for his fantasy novels and short stories including American Gods, MirrorMask, Neverwhere, and The Graveyard Book, which is set to be turned into a live-action film directed by Neil Jordan and produced by Gaiman. He has also written an episode for the new series of Doctor Who, which returns to the BBC at Easter.