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Andy Serkis, Jonathan Cavendish, Samantha Shannon
(l-r) Andy Serkis, Jonathan Cavendish, Samantha Shannon

The directors of The Imaginarium Studios, Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish were on hand to discuss adapting THE BONE SEASON for the big screen, along with the book’s author Samantha Shannon. The Q&A, held at Waterstones, Piccadilly saw the trio discuss the book’s appeal, performance capture and what they have in mind for the exciting adaptation.

There have been many parallels discussed between Shannon’s new world and that of Tolkien, which Andy Serkis knows only too well. ‘It’s like an onion,’ he said. ‘There are just layers and layers and layers – much like Tolkien – that you just have to keep on peeling back and peeling back … That’s what attracted me to being involved with LORD OF THE RINGS and that’s what certainly attracted both of us to Samantha’s work when we were lucky enough to come across it.’

‘There are just layers and layers and layers – much like Tolkien – that you just have to keep on peeling back and peeling back’ – Andy Serkis on Samantha Shannon’s writing

Andy Serkis The Bone SeasonShannon laughed off the idea that she could create languages like Tolkien did, though she did say that she’d heard a rumour that Tolkien had created Elvish swear words. ‘Imagine Legolas swearing!’ she said. ‘That’s beautiful!’ To which Serkis laughed: ‘He did!’

Serkis went on to discuss performance capture, explaining that it ‘allows you as an actor to transport yourself really into anything. It’s the ultimate actor’s magic mirror’. He went on to say that ‘it’s the ability to not be hemmed in by your size, your scale, your colour, your sex – you can actually play anything using this technology. You have to have the imagination.’

On his work as Gollum, Serkis said that ‘not only are you putting a large chunk of yourself under the microscope – because inevitably, all actors do – but I was drawing on paintings, animals, all the descriptions that Tolkien had written in his book about the way Gollum moves, thinks, feels.’

Samantha Shannon
Samantha Shannon does a short reading

Cavendish does credit Serkis’s links with the world of Tolkien as perhaps being what finally sealed the deal and got The Imaginarium Studios the film rights to the book. ‘The moment that I think I knew that we had clinched [the film deal],’ he said, ‘was when Andy was in New Zealand doing THE HOBBIT and we set up a Skype call … I could see that Samantha was interested if not excited by this … a group of off-duty Orcs walked by [and] I realised that we’d clinched it!’

‘…a group of off-duty Orcs walked by [and] I realised that we’d clinched it!’ – Jonathan Cavendish on getting the film rights to The Bone Season in a rather unique way

Shannon is going to be very involved with the adaptation which seems to delight all concerned. Cavendish had hoped the deal would have been signed with the double-Oscar nominated screenwriter they have lined up to adapt it but said it can’t quite be divulged as yet. Though he did say this should be announced within the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

Unfortunately, it looks as though we might have to wait a long time until we see THE BONE SEASON film as Serkis says it will probably take about three years to get the film released. Roll on 2017….

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