Alex Garland's screenplay follow-up to Annihilation, The Toymaker’s Secret, moving forward

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Apr 11, 2018, 12:30 PM EDT (Updated)

Two intriguing projects on the horizon represent changes of pace for their genre-based creators — one a producer switching gears, the other a change in tone from a sci-fi stable.

Fresh off the critically adored box-office disappointment (and complex piece of sci-fi weirdness) Annihilation, screenwriter and director Alex Garland has a new film in the works for TriStar Pictures. This time he won’t be directing, but will be scripting The Toymaker’s Secret for his BAFTA-winning actor/director wife, Paloma Baeza, to helm. Baeza, known for her work on British TV, has previously directed award-winning animated shorts and a TV drama.

She’ll use that prowess on the blended CGI and live-action fantasy film that involves “children’s toys brought to life by a toymaker in Victorian England and who have been living in secret in the same house until present day.” This house finds itself inhabited by a new family, a single mother and daughter, and the collision of worlds results in something both magical and mysterious — like Coraline meets The Princess Bride. This is certainly lighter than Garland’s previous projects (like Ex Machina) but touches on the more kid-friendly work of Baeza’s bear-oriented short Poles Apart.

Speaking of polar bears, The Golden Compass producer Ileen Maisel is working with Fox 21 Television Studios to develop a TV adaptation of Anna Day’s YA novel The Fandom.

The story is both about a dystopia and becomes one itself when Violet and her friends find their fandom for fiction YA franchise The Gallows Dance made real after a Comic-Con accident. A meta tale of young adult fiction, the protagonists must work their way through the book they’ve been sucked into — all while being its biggest fans. Sounds just as mind-trippy as something from Alex Garland's twisted filmography.