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SYFY WIRE Vampires

Cirque Du Freak: Will Darren Shan's YA Vampire Saga Rise from the Coffin After Film Version?

We haven't seen the last of Larten Crepsley and his vampiric protégée!

By Josh Weiss
Mr. Crepsley (John C. Reilly) rises from his coffin in Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)..

A fresh attempt is being made to bring Larten Crepsley and his vampiric protégé to the screen.

Posting on his blog earlier this year, author Darren O'Shaughnessy revealed that Cirque Du Freak (the first book in his Saga of Darren Shan series) had been optioned for a potential TV show. "[A team is] working on scripts right now, the plan being to adapt the books for television, though they haven't [completely] ruled out doing them as movies either," he teased.

The author didn't elaborate any further on who had done the optioning (or who would write the scripts for that matter), but this marks the first stab at an adaptation in almost 15 years (more on that below). Upon finding SYFY WIRE's initial coverage, O'Shaughnessy made a second blog post, in which he revealed a few more tidbits.

"I can't say much more about the potential reboot, except that it's looking mildly promising [and] that it MIGHT actually lead to something," he elaborated. "The team in the States (which includes some VERY experienced and successful Hollywood heavy-hitters) was still working on scripts earlier this year, and were inching closer to taking the project out to market, but everything ground to a halt with the writers' strike. Hopefully, things will move forward more swiftly once that gets resolved, and I'll be able to come back to you all with more info about who optioned the rights and who is working on the scripts and which studio has (IF that happens — fingers crossed!!) bought the project to film, but for now, alas, I must keep my lip zipped."

What happened to the Cirque Du Freak movie?

Universal Pictures previously tried to launch a YA film franchise with 2009's Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (now streaming on Peacock), which condensed the first three novels (out of 12) into an hour and 48-minute runtime. Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson, both of them relative newcomers at the time, headlined the story as two friends on opposite sides of a brewing war between peace-loving vampires and a bloodthirsty faction known as the Vampaneze.

RELATED: Scariest Versions of Dracula Ever Put to Screen: From Nosferatu to Last Voyage of the Demeter

Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy) directed and co-wrote the movie, which proved to be a critical and box office misfire. Nevertheless, the project remains notable for its all-star supporting cast which included the likes of John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem Dafoe, Orlando Jones, Jane Krakowski, Ken Watanabe, Kristen Schaal, Frankie Faison, and the late Ray Stevenson.

Weitz, who exclusively sat down with SYFY WIRE last fall, recalled how O'Shaughnessy was "very kind" toward the film, despite its numerous discrepancies from the novels. "He kind of was like, ‘Well, this is the film. Go with God.' And then [he] was defending the places where the film diverged from the books," the director told us. "He was very gracious about it."

RELATED: How pre-WWII Expressionism inspired the look of 'Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant'

Weitz confessed disappointment over the lack of sequels, but went on to voice his hope of seeing a different filmmaker take a crack at the source material with a more mature vision in mind. 

"I wish someone else would make a totally different series," he said. "They did it with The Golden Compass ... There is a different, and no doubt, extremely cool version of this movie that could have been made, which was much darker. But at the time, that was not what people were going for. I'd be interested to see that if someone was to make that."

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is now streaming on Peacock. If you want even more bloodsucking action, Renfield and Vampire Academy are also available on the platform Looking ahead, SYFY's Reginald the Vampire  is set to return later this year for a second season.

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