Everybody loves “Downton Abbey,” don’t they? If you’re not a fan then I guarantee your friend is. Or your parents. Or your grandparents. Or your little sister. For some reason, the British period drama seems to have struck a chord with viewers of all ages on both sides of the pond, and as a result it shouldn’t come as a surprise that anyone involved with the show has found their stock steadily rising in tandem with the acclaim for the show.
The latest to cash in on their new-found success is Brian Percival – the BAFTA and Emmy director of four episodes, including the recent Christmas special. But now he looks set to step up to the big time, signing on to direct an adaptation of Marcus Zusak’s novel “The Book Thief,” a novel that spent an astonishing 228 weeks on the Children’s Chapter Paperback New York Times bestseller list. Percival – who also notably directed the acclaimed British drama “A Boy Called Dad” starring Ian Hart – will direct the film for Fox 2000, with “Twilight” producer Karen Rosenfelt lending her skills behind the scenes.
Deadline describe the book as a “WWII story involving a foster girl living outside of Munich who survives by stealing books. Aided by her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with neighbours during the bombing raid.” It sounds like a young adult-y sort of story to us, and immediately brings to mind the similarly WWII set “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” which delicately balanced the serious subject matter with a story accessible enough for younger kids. We’re also getting a “Hugo” vibe, but maybe we’ve just got Asa Butterfield on the brain. The project is eyeing a summer production start, so we may see this in theatres as early as next year.