I did not know this. And I am excited. And worried.
I was first introduced to Gormenghast back in the year 2000 when the BBC had initially adapted it as a mini-series. It stuck in my mind as being one of the most fantastic pieces of fantasy drama I had ever seen (it was also a great help to me since my mother passed away during the series’ run, and I got a tiny bit of comfort by losing myself within the story).
Not everybody loves the BBC series, but I still think it’s a great effort. I say that because until you sit down and read the books do you fully appreciate how complex the story is, and Peake’s wonderful use of language. For me, I had read the Gormenghast trilogy (Titus Groan, Gormenghast and Titus Alone) after reading another favourite book of mine, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which was recently adapted for BBC television as a mini-series and rated number eight in 2015’s greatest TV shows. These two books, along with the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, are my very favourite stories ever committed to paper.
If Gormenghast is coming to the cinema, I have my concerns. Not because Neil Gaiman is adapting – of course not. For he is absolutely the best person for the job. My biggest concern is that because of the shere scale of the Gormenghast story – starting from the birth of Titus Groan through to the downfall of the Earldom, and to Titus’ wonderings away from his ancient home – is such that it would be truly difficult to get the essence oft he thing into a two hour movie.
Will the movie be a series?
Personally I’d say that if one has to split a story into multiple parts, it’s best given to the medium of television. While Gormenghast is a truly wonderful story, I’m not sure how well it’d fare with the general cinema-going public. It’s something that would work much better as a re-invented television mini-series. But then again, the TV market is also a very crowded place what with Netflix, Amazon Studios, the usual broadcasters and so on all pumping out new and exciting television series – including Neil’s American Gods, coming soon-ish to Starz (and potentially Amazon Prime Instant Video here in the UK).
I don’t have any answers. But I am nevertheless intrigued and excited to see Gormenghast come to a screen of some kind.