The family-friendly fare that Disney is known so well for is about to get darker. Disney, in conjunction with Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers digital film studio, has acquired the film rights to Dark Life, a forthcoming book from first time author and Northwestern University screenwriting professor Kat Falls. Life takes place in an apocalyptic, waterworld future and centers on the adventures of a young man, Ty, living under the sea. With sequels on the way, the acquisition fits well with Disney’s latest push to develop long-term properties with cross-generational appeal.
As Variety notes, ImageMovers, responsible for Zemeckis’ motion-capture projects like A Christmas Carol, is being closed down at the end of the year, so there is only a slim chance that Dark Life will utilize motion-capture technology in production. For the official product description as well as my thoughts on the film’s potential hit the jump.
“Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.
The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family’s homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws’ attacks on government supply ships and settlements threaten to destroy the underwater territory, Ty finds himself in a fight to stop the outlaws and save the only home he has ever known.
Joined by a girl from the Topside who has come subsea to look for her prospector brother, Ty ventures into the frontier’s rough underworld and begins to discover some dark secrets to Dark Life.
As Ty gets closer to the truth, he discovers that the outlaws may not be the bloodthirsty criminals the government has portrayed them as. And that the government abandoning the territory might be the best thing for everyone, especially for someone like Ty, someone with a Dark Gift.”
With Harry Potter ending shortly, the market for sci-fi/fantasy adventure movies is going to open up again. Fox 2000 has already made their play by acquiring Incarceron and Disney appears to have countered with the Dark Life deal. The Mouse House was correct in identifying a need to develop and market a new young-adult film with sequel potential but is Dark Life really the best option? Signing onto a film version before the book has even come out seems a little risky, especially consider the logistical difficulties this project is sure to present. Hopefully Zemeckis has Kevin Costner on speed dial.