Mervyn Peake’s five-book series ‘Gormenghast’ has just blown up in a huge way as FremantleMedia North America has Neil Gaiman working with Akiva Goldsman to adapt the series for the small screen. ‘Game of Thrones’ has repeatedly proven that there is a market for a rich fantasy series and now we have a new one to look forward to.
This won’t be the first shot at bringing the series to life as previously BBC had adapted the first two novels, ‘Titus Groan’ and ‘Gormenghast’ into a four-part miniseries which ran in 2000 and starred both Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee.
With Gaiman and Goldsman involved, I’m sure we’re going to be hearing about a fantastic cast being lined up for this one shortly.
For those unfamiliar with the source material, it follows everyone who lives in Castle Gormenghast. The location is a sprawling structure which has fallen into repair, and the main characters include Titus who is the next in line for the House of Groan’s throne, Steerpike who works in the kitchen but has secretive plans, and the twin sisters Cora and Clarice. The inhabitants of the castle and those directly around it live in a very insular and cutoff world that has advanced beyond the medieval settings which we’re introduced to. In the first installment, we see Titus as a baby for most of the work and is a background character, only growing into his own in the sequels.
When talking about the series, Gaiman states:
“There is nothing in literature like Mervyn Peake’s remarkable Gormenghast novels. They were crafted by a master, who was also an artist, and they take us to an ancient castle as big as a city, with heroes and villains and people larger than life that are impossible to forget. There is a reason why there were two trilogies that lovers of the fantasy genre embraced in the Sixties: Lord of the Rings and the Gormenghast books. It’s an honor to have been given the opportunity to help shepherd Peake’s brilliant and singular vision to the screen.”
President of Scripted Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America Dante Di Loreto added:
“Nothing combines a dark atmosphere with humor and intrigue the way that Gormenghast does. It’s one of the most eccentric and vividly imagined universes ever created. We’re excited to continue our relationship with Neil and the producing team assembled for this project is ideal to explore the series’ perfect mix of humor, pathos, and tragedy.”
Finally from Fabian Peake who is the son of Mervyn and executor of the Peake estate:
“We are tremendously excited by the prospect of seeing the Gormenghast books realized for television. This venture presents a unique opportunity to explore the imagination of a multi-faceted artist.”
The world introduced in the ‘Gormenghast’ series is a fascinating one though it might be difficult for it to being realized on the small screen. I’m very eager to see if they’ll be following the narrative of trying to follow all of Titus’s life or be skipping over aspects of it to have him a fully realized young adult when we jump into the mix.
Are you looking forward to seeing what Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman can do with ‘Gormenghast’? Which network or streaming service do you think would be the best fit for the series? Share your thoughts below!