One of the projects Robert Zemeckis became involved with - following the collapse of his motion-capture Yellow Submarine remake - was How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, an adaptation of Chuck Sambuchino's comical guidebook about how to best fend off potentially homicidal ceramic yard decorations.
Zemeckis is producing the Sony Pictures project, which will be penned by writing duo Chad Damiani and J.P. Lavin. The tentative plan is for Zemeckis to also direct Garden Gnome, sometime after he finishes helming his first live-action film in over a decade (entitled Flight).
Damiani and J.P. Lavin previously scripted the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards show; they are also handling screenwriting duties on two upcoming productions: a movie based on Mattel's Max Steel toy for Paramount and producer Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland), along with the comic book adaptation Geronimo.
How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack was originally (according to previous reports) being designed as a R-Rated horror-comedy that would cost around $20-30 million. However, Deadline is now saying the film will be "an edgy PG-13" adaptation; nonethless, it will still combine live-action humans with "scary" CGI garden gnomes.
Check out the official Garden Gnome novel synopsis below, for a better idea of just how tongue-in-cheek Sambuchino's source material is (and its cinematic counterpart is, likewise, expected to be):
There’s a new threat in town—and it’s only twelve inches tall. ‘How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack’ is the only comprehensive survival guide that will help you prevent, prepare for, and ward off an imminent home invasion by the common garden gnome. Once thought of as harmless yard decorations, evidence is mounting that these smiling lawn statues are poised and ready to wreck havoc. The danger is real. And it’s here.
Garden Gnome reads as having the potential to be a wickedly humorous flick along the lines of a movie like the original Gremlins - albeit for a younger generation of moviegoers. Hopefully it will also prove more successful than a previously-released film that also concerned destructive tiny figurines (ie. Small Soldiers).
Zemeckis is both a technical whizkid when it comes to combining real humans with animated characters (see: Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and quite capable at handling twisted dark comedy (see: Death Becomes Her). So long as Damiani and Lavin devise a clever screenplay for Zemeckis to work from, this project could easily turn out to be something memorable.
We will keep you posted on the status of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack as the story develops.