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ADAPT THIS: “The Unwritten” by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

the-unwritten

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

The Premise: Tommy Taylor is both the son of a novelist and the namesake for the main character in his father’s phenomenally successful series of books about a boy wizard. His life is a series of conventions and public appearances, signing autographs and representing the real-life version of the literary figure, until a fan unearths information about Tommy’s past – and his father’s mysterious disappearance years ago – that throws everything Tommy knows about his life into question. As the line between Tommy’s fictional adventures and the real world begins to blur, he’s drawn into a dark, magical mystery that explores the nature of storytelling and the power it wields over our world.

The Pitch: Sure, the premise of The Unwritten clearly draws from the Harry Potter phenomenon, but that surface-level connection is merely a starting point for an amazing – and occasionally very, very dark – adventure.

The acclaimed creative team behind the Lucifer series, Mike Carey and Peter Gross have crafted a tale that takes a cultural phenomenon we’re all familiar with – the worship of literary characters and how that carries over to their real-world representations – and injects it with some reality-bending action and a grittier, more adult tone. Given the rabid fan base for franchises like the Twilight and Harry Potter series, and how that carries over to the real-life actors associated with them, its easy to see identify with the world Tommy inhabits when the story begins, filled with shrieking fans, costumes, and convention panels.

And it’s this beginning point that really sells The Unwritten as great adaptation material. The world of popular fiction and high-profile adaptations is something that fascinates us all, whether we’re fans of a particular property ourselves or simply trying to wrap our heads around the cultural phenomenon. The Unwritten is firmly set within that world, and manages to mix a behind-the-scenes take on fandom with a compelling, original adventure that bounces between the “real” and fictional worlds.

It’s also worth pointing out that appeal of a character like Tommy Taylor for an a talented actor. Over the course of the first volume of The Unwritten, Tommy is presented as hero, villain, and everything between, and often serves as the reader’s window into the surreal adventure unfolding around him. Much like the reader, he’s not quite sure what’s happening to him, either, and he brings you along for the ride.

On the effects side, The Unwritten opts to keep the more fantastic sequences to a minimum, and keeps its audience guessing as to whether the weird events occurring around Tommy really are something otherworldly, or simply a sign that he’s lost touch with reality. This works in favor of a potential adaptation, as there would be little need for expensive set pieces for much of the series, with only the occasional reference to fictional events in the books needing any major effects.

The Closing Argument: In many ways, The Unwritten is like an adult version of The Neverending Story, with the main character’s overlapping adventures in the real world and fictional settings taking on a much darker, psychological tone. There’s plenty of action and mystery, but there’s also the sense that Tommy’s quest for the truth will have a high body count – and could cost him his sanity, too.

Filled with great heroes, villains, and fantastic creatures, The Unwritten would probably best be adapted as a television series on a cable network, giving the story time to unfold at a gradual pace, and keeping viewers coming back week after week for the next chapter.


Would “The Unwritten” make a good television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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