In one of its biggest plays to date, Rainmaker Content, the London-based distributor founded last June by former Kew Media Distribution execs, has acquired international rights to “The Bone Season,” an eight-hour epic thriller series based on Samantha Shannon’s international bestsellers.
Designed as a series franchise – Shannon’s book series now runs to four novels with another three planned – “The Bone Season” is set up at London’s Little Hat Productions.
More from Variety
Well-known for her work as head of production at Bad Penny Prods. (“Waiting for Anya,” “You, Me and Him”), Little Hat founder Harriet Hammond will produce the adaptation. “The Bone Season” is executive produced by Hammond and Victor Glynn at GCB Films.
A potentially high-end production – folding a Gothic fantasy world into a dystopian alternative London, which mixes Victorian and futuristic detail – “The Bone Season’s” cast and crew will begin to be announced in the coming weeks with agencies currently attaching talent, Rainmaker and Little Hat said in a statement Wednesday.
The small screen adaptation of “The Bone Season” is being written, with input from Shannon, by Scottish screenwriter IR Bell-Webb, an alum of the U.K. National Film & TV School, who was nominated for a best British short BAFTA Award for co-writing “Slap.”
Mentored by Russell T. Davies as part of the BFI Flare Scheme, Bell-Webb’s “work is rich with characters who exist on the periphery of society, using a unique voice full of dark humor and eccentricity to tell stories through a contemporary lens in an accessible and universal way,” Rainmaker and Little Hat said.
“The Bone Season’s” central character, Paige Mahoney, certainly exists on the periphery of society, forming part of a persecuted “voyant” class working for a criminal syndicate in a 2059 London ruled by Scion, a fascistic power.
A dream walker, the rarest and most powerful type of clairvoyants, Mahoney is abducted and imprisoned in Oxford, and realizes that Sion is a mere front for a powerful otherworldly race of creatures, the Rephaim.
Coming out in 2013, “The Bone Season” moved waves as the first book from a 21-year-old student at Oxford U. released by Bloomsbury Publishing, “Harry Potter’s” original publisher, and imagined, like “Harry Potter,” as a seven book series.
The heart of the franchise, however, is far from “Harry Potter,” evoking, sometimes explicitly, a novel written by a woman in the 19th century, “Wuthering Heights.”
“Gritty” and “grounded,” the series will “evoke London in the Victorian era with a distinct, futuristic look and feel,” Rainmaker and Little Hat announced Wednesday.
They added: “It is a story of a young woman torn between self-preservation and compassion, who must decide if she can lead a war of justice and place her trust in someone she despises.
“I am extremely excited to be working with the creative team on this series which is so close to my heart, “ Shannon added. “Shifting ‘The Bone Season’ to the screen is allowing me to explore the world of Scion in even more depth and consider the story from new angles.”
“This is an exceptional and engaging narrative with a rich quality – combining the scope and characterization of epic fantasy with the peril and moral predicaments of a dystopian drama,” said Rainmaker Content COO and co-founder Vicky Ryan.
Shannon, Hammond and Bell-Webb will “recreate ‘The Bone Season’ for the huge army of fans who we know cannot wait to see their heroine and this remarkable world come to life,” she added.
Best of Variety