The box office success of recent film franchises including Harry PotterTwilight, and The Hunger Games have demonstrated that the popularity of young adult book series can be duplicated on the big screen. Not surprisingly, a movie adaptation of another modern fantasy best-seller, The Alchemyst, is currently in the works.

The first in author Michael Scott’s six-part fantasy saga The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, The Alchemyst centers on the series’ titular character, a real-life fourteenth-century Frenchman who has been depicted or referenced in several works of fiction (including Harry Potter). Flamel is rumored to have been an accomplished sorcerer who managed to unlock the secret of immortality. In Scott’s story, the ageless Flamel survives into the modern day, and must assist teenagers Sophie and Josh Newman in recovering a magical book before the villainous Dr. John Dee can use it to bring about an age of darkness and despair.

By all accounts, The Alchemyst has the makings of a potential cinema blockbuster. The premise sounds solid, and the story provides plenty of opportunities for big-screen spectacle, especially in this age of 3-D filmmaking. The book series has a huge fan base, with all six installments making The New York Times best seller list. Though die-hard fans of the novels may get nit-picky about a film adaptation, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that Scott has given the project his full support, and is even penning the adapted screenplay himself. This will likely ensure that the movie stays largely faithful to the author’s original vision. Respecting the source material is vital if the filmmakers hope to entice the series’ legions of devotees to the box-office. This would not only ensure considerable profits, but also demonstrate the viability of the entire franchise (see below – click for full version).

Australian studio AMCPO Films is producing The Alchemyst, and plans to start production in February 2013. Though the novel is set largely in San Francisco, the initial filming will take place throughout Australia and New Zealand. The latter country provided a truly stunning backdrop for The Lord of the Rings, as well as the upcoming prequel The Hobbit, so hopefully The Alchemyst filmmakers will take note, and use the epic scenery to craft a fantasy world of their own.

Stay tuned for further updates on The Alchemyst.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter