Everyone is looking for the next "Harry Potter" or "Lord of the Rings" movie franchise, and Lauren Shuler Donner thinks she may have found it in the "Cirque du Freak" books. She is beginning production on the first film.
“It’s a series of 12 books in England that are hugely popular,” she said. “They’re in the vein of Harry Potter in that young boys and girls love them. Cirque du Freak is a freak show that comes to town and through this series of events, he becomes a vampire’s assistant, which is sort of like a half vampire so he has half the powers. He has the speed and he’ll age half as much. There’s a war between the good vampires and the bad vampires. His best friend becomes head of the bad vampires and ultimately the books lead to a huge war between the two of them.”
Shuler Donner has assembled an A-list crew to bring the books to life. “Brian Helgeland wrote the script and we brought in Paul Weitz to direct it. Paul’s doing his rewrite and we used the first three books. There’ll be four movies. Each movie is a combination of three books.”
The films will also transplant the story from England to America. “It works just as well.”
With vampires and wars, this hardly sounds like Harry Potter family fare. “It is more intense than Potter. It’ll still be PG-13 but "X-Men" was PG-13 and we went pretty far, so it’ll go that far.”
Cirque du Freak is in production at Universal.