After an intense bidding war among multiple studios, Hivemind has acquired the rights to develop Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's creator-owned, sold-out Image Comics comic book Gideon Falls into a television series. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news Thursday morning.
Gideon Falls is a dark, fantasy mystery and horror series about a downtrodden Catholic priest who is reassigned to a small rural town of eccentric characters. At the same time, it's an urban story of a recluse whose life revolves around digging through the big city's trash because he believes that he is on the trail of uncovering a big conspiracy. The one thing these two stories have in common is the shared vision of an ominous black barn, which is an urban legend in both threads.
While mystery and horror fans will be and have been easily drawn to the series, it's the ensemble cast of vastly interesting characters and their stories that have made it a must-read for comics collectors, and although the series has published just four issues, it has repeatedly sold out across the country. Lemire's long line of projects and Sorrentino's moody art are also a big reason for the popularity. They've worked together on titles such as Green Arrow and Old Man Logan. The first storyline of Gideon Falls will come to a close with Issue #6; then the series will take a break and resume with a new storyline with Issue #7 in October.
Hivemind has a first-look agreement with Amazon Studios, so while not yet a certainty, they'll get to review the project first and become a potential landing spot for Gideon Falls. The studio, which was formerly named Mythos, is behind the science fiction series The Expanse for Amazon Studios (formerly at SYFY) and is bringing The Witcher to Netflix. They're also adapting the book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark into a feature film with producer/co-writer Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal.
Gideon Falls will be envisioned as an hourlong horror drama spearheaded by producing partners Sean Daniel (formerly of Universal Pictures) and Jason Brown, co-president Dinesh Shamdasani (formerly Valiant CEO), and Kathy Lingg (formerly of Bad Robot). Shamdasani was a key player in the negotiations, as he had previously brought Lemire to Valiant to write Bloodshot.
SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of the first five pages of Gideon Falls #5, which will be released July 18 with a variant cover by Skottie Young, and spoke with Jeff Lemire about the buzzworthy deal with Hivemind.
Not everyone gets into comics to suddenly become a television producer or writer, Jeff. How involved are you going to be or wanting to be?
Comics are and always will be my focus. But, at the same time, if I can continue to create comics, but also help to develop them into other media, then I will. In the case of Gideon Falls, it's still early, but I plan on being quietly involved with the production. But my main priority is to continue to develop and produce the Gideon Falls comic with Andrea, which in turn gives Hivemind more material to work with.
Gideon Falls is a story you’ve been working on for a long, long time. What goes through your mind as it turns another corner in evolving to multiple mediums now?
It's quite surreal. This story started as a short film I wrote and directed back in 1996, and now, over 20 years later, it's finally being realized as a comic book and now being developed for television. I think back to the struggles I had with this story for so many years, and it feels very good to get it out into the word finally and to have people respond to it so positively.
How happy were you with Hivemind and how they were approaching the adaptation? Is this going to be a pure translation, or will you be seeing how it can be modified and altered to the different format?
I love working with Hivemind. I already had a great relationship with Dinesh Shamdasani, from my time writing for Valiant when he was there, so the transition to working with him as well as Kathy [Lingg], Jason [Brown], and Sean [Daniel] has been very easy and very collaborative. Their passion for the comic is what sold Andrea and I on working with them. Of course, television is a completely different medium, so it will need to be translated in a way that works on screen, but the heart and core of the comic will drive that.
The initial story, “Black Barn,” is a great primer for Gideon Falls, but in October you’ll begin a new arc, “Original Sins.” What can you tease us about that?
The next arc is really twisted and takes a lot of what we established in the first storyline and twists it around into a new light. We will learn much more about the pasts of both Fred and Norton in this next arc, and how they drive what is happening in the present. We also start to learn more about the history of the Black Barn.
Has it been established where Norton and Dr. Xu’s story takes place in reference to rural setting of Gideon Falls?
I can't answer that yet. The end of our first arc answers that question in a big way.
You’ve introduced the mystery of the Ploughmen and Doc Sutton, this developing professional relationship between Dr. Xu and Norton Sinclair, and Father Wilfred and the rest of eccentric Gideon Falls cast. Which of these plots continue into “Original Sins,” or is there conclusion for some by the end of the “Black Barn”?
All of theses stories and characters continue to be developed in the next arc. I wanted this book to be populated with a large ensemble cast and to have time to fully realize all of these characters. We have only just scratched the surface.
With an ongoing comic book series still in its first arc, and a television series now in preproduction, do you have a finite story in mind for the comics or do you now see the show as reason to think of a longer, more open-ended story to use as fuel for the TV series?
I know the ending of the story. I usually do when I start any project. And it is always a matter of how the audience reacts to the book, and how much fun my collaborators and I are having, that determines how much we expand the world and how long we want the story to be before reaching that ending. In this case, we are loving working together and loving the world. This, along with the success of the comic, has got me thinking bigger.
Check out this five-page exclusive preview of Gideon Falls #5. The last issue saw Father Wilfred and the sheriff stumble onto a new horror at the Reddy Farm. It will be available to purchase on July 18.