Warner Bros. picked up the rights to Jeff Smith’s comic book fantasy epic, Bone, back in 2008. The studio has since been working to bring the tale of cousins Fone Bone, Phony Bone, and Smiley Bone (all of whom physically look like crosses between Pogo and Snoopy) to the big screen in 3D CGI form ever since.
Back in Summer 2011, Smith revealed that he’d seen test footage from the first Bone movie, which could theoretically be the first in a trilogy of animated flicks based on 1,300 pages-worth of graphic novel material. Jump to the present and it appears that a new screenwriter, along with a director, have officially signed up to man the helm on (at least) the first Bone film.
Heat Vision is reporting that Patrick Sean Smith (the creator of Greek) has been hired on to contribute to the Bone movie screenplay, presumably working from the earlier drafts penned by Justin Monjo (Farscape) and Aussie writer/director P.J. Hogan (Muriel’s Wedding, Peter Pan). More so, Hogan is now attached to direct the project, which will feature animation developed by the Australia-based Animal Logic (Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole).
Here is a semi-official description of the original Bone comic book saga, which Jeff Smith wrote from 1991-2004:
Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, speanding a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion called RockJaw: Master of the Eastern Border. They learn about sacrifice and hardship in The Ghost Circles and finally discover their own true natures in the climatic journey to The Crown of Horns.
While there’s a pretty eclectic mix of storytellers and filmmaking talent attached to Bone, most of the people involved to date have done solid work in the sci-fi and/or fantasy genre before, which bodes well for the efforts in realizing Smith’s (for lack of a better description) cartoony Tolkien-esque world and characters in creative cinematic form. Likewise, Animal Logic has produced some stellar animation in the past and should help bring the somewhat bizarre inhabitants of the Bone universe to vibrant life.
The first Bone movie is in a position previously occupied by The Adventures of Tintin, which Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson always intended to be the first in a trilogy. While the Tintin adaptation has managed to become a big enough hit (thanks largely to the character’s popularity overseas) to ensure that more installments are on the way, it’s kind of difficult to say right now for certain whether or not the Bone movie is guaranteed to be as successful.
Then again – millions of readers rediscovered the Bone comic books when Scholastic began publishing them in true graphic novel form. Combine that with the comic books’ initial popularity, along with the highly-decorated nature of Smith’s source material, and it is safe to say: the Bone franchise is both prestigious and popular enough to ensure that the first film adaptation could do alright by itself.
Previous reports indicated that the first Bone movie won’t be ready to hit theaters until 2013 or 2014, at the earliest. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the status of the project, in the meantime.