Eric Heisserer, who penned Sandra Bullock-led Netflix original feature Bird Box, will script fantasy series Shadow and Bone for the streaming giant, Deadline reported Thursday.
The eight-episode series is based on author and executive producer Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows Grishaverse fantasy novels, centered around orphan Alina Starkov, who learns she is a Grisha — a term for humans wielding matter-manipulating abilities — possessing the unusual power to summon light.
Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy is on board as EP through his 21 Laps Entertainment label alongside Heisserer, who will also be showrunner on the project.
Also on board as executive producer is Pouya Shahbazian, who backed Summit Entertainment’s Divergent movie franchise as inspired by the young adult novel series, alongside Dan Levine (Arrival), Josh Barry (Haters Back Off!) and Dan Cohen (Kin).
“In most fantasy, darkness is metaphorical; it’s just a way of talking about evil (darkness falls across the land, a dark age is coming, etc.). I wanted to take something figurative and make it literal,” Bardugo told EW of her debut novel.
“So the question became, ‘What if darkness was a place? What if the monsters lurking there were real and more horrible than anything you’d ever imagined beneath your bed or behind the closet door? What if you had to fight them on their own territory, blind and helpless in the dark?’ These ideas eventually became the Shadow Fold.”
Bardugo characterized the eventual franchise and ‘Grishaverse’ launcher, then in its infancy, as bringing to life “a world of saints and samovars, assassins and superstition, dark magic, court intrigue, and romance.”
Bird Box emerged as Netflix’s most-watched original movie, exceeding 45 million views in its first week. The horror hit, directed by Susanne Bier (The Night Manager), beat out Suicide Squad director David Ayer’s Bright as the biggest opening performance for a Netflix original, numbers backed by independent Nielsen data.
The buzzy Bird Box is part of the streamer’s plan to produce 90 original movies a year with budgets as high as $200 million, more than tripling the output of major Hollywood studios Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.
Now known for backing original series House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and pop culture phenomenon Stranger Things, Netflix has found continued success with zeitgeist-piercing original series 13 Reasons Why, Mindhunter, The Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, as well as fan-favorite Marvel-inspired series Daredevil and The Punisher.