‘Hunger Games’ director will helm TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’

With “The Hunger Games” movie franchise coming to a close this fall, director Francis Lawrence is lining up new projects. This one may be worth getting excited about.

Lawrence will direct the pilot for a new TV take on Neil Gaiman”s “Neverwhere,” Deadline reported today.

“Neverwhere” was a six-episode urban fantasy TV series on BBC that aired in 1996. During the show”s run, Gaiman released a novel version of the story, which is about a man who finds his ordinary life changed forever on the day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. After that encounter, he”s propelled into the hidden world of “London Below” – a dark subculture flourishing in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels – as he ceases to exist in London Above.

Lawrence (who directed three of the four “Hunger Games” films) seems like a good fit: He proved with that franchise that he can bring to life the contrasting worlds of the glamorous, glimmering Capitol and the poor District 12. He”ll have to create a similar contrast but make the style of it all fit together in one TV show with the familiar London Above and the dank, grungy but often bustling London Below. The post-apocalyptic world the director created for “I Am Legend” also gives me hope that he can give us a satisfyingly realized London Below. And we know Lawrence can deliver us compelling performances from actors like Jennifer Lawrence (no relation). The director will hopefully have another successful actor-director team with whoever gets cast as Richard Mayhew.

(Intriguing side note: Francis Lawrence directed a 2012 pilot for an ABC show that didn”t get picked up, with this longline that sounds quite akin to “Neverwhere”: “After pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, discovers a magical world that exists within New York City.”)

I also need to mention that I really hope if this TV show gets picked up, it does this moment from the book justice (spoiler alert!):


This new “Neverwhere” is one of several Gaiman film and TV adaptations in development. Among the others: Bryan Fuller”s take on “American Gods,” a long-overdue “Sandman” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a feature film version of his short story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.”