Focus Features and Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone are set to close a deal for film rights to Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane.” Joe Wright (whose films “Anna Karenina” and “Pride & Prejudice” were also released by Focus) is attached to direct, and will also produce along with his Shoebox Films cohort Paul Webster and Playtone. The novel, not yet published, has a dark tone. Deadline extrapolates from the jacket copy;
…it’s about about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. The narrator describes a tale that begins when he was seven and a lodger stole the family’s car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed — within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.