Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has teamed with Chernin Entertainment to acquire The Bone Season, the first of a seven-installment sci-fi novel series by Samantha Shannon. The deal was made with Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish’s The Imaginarium, which controlled the rights and will produce with Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping.

At the same time, Fox has made a first-look producing deal with The Imaginarium. This comes after Serkis reprised his role as Caesar in the Matt Reeves-directed Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the second installment of what has become one of Fox’s most important film franchises. Chernin Entertainment produces that series.

The Bone Season takes place in a futuristic London society, where a 19-year-old girl works in the criminal underworld. She is a dreamwalker, a rare clairvoyant who can break into people’s minds and see what they are thinking. She is kidnapped and whisked away to Oxford, an otherworldly place where dreamwalkers are used as soldiers and where she is held captive by a warden with mysterious motives. The intention is for her to remain incarcerated her whole life, but she tries to find a way into her captor’s mind. Serkis won’t act in it or direct it, and he and Cavendish optioned it early at a book fair, and helped the young author move it along. It hit the bestseller lists and the author became something of a sensation, as she is just 22. Serkis and Cavendish came to Hollywood last week to pitch, and several studios were interested before Fox closed the deal. Imaginarium is repped by CAA and Larry Taube of Principal Entertainment LA.