Shawn Levy to Direct Adventure Novel Series Adaptation THE 39 CLUES for DreamWorks

     May 10, 2012


The adaptation of adventures novel series The 39 Clues is now in the hands of director Shawn Levy (Real Steel).  The feature rights to the on-going 15-volume series were acquired by DreamWorks as a project originally intended for Steven Spielberg. When that didn’t pan out, Brett Ratner stepped in to direct with Spielberg staying on as a producer, but that must have fallen through as well.  That’s good news for the series, in my humble opinion, as DreamWorks is envisioning The 39 Clues as a family-friendly, action/adventure film franchise.  Levy already brings experience in that realm, citing the Night at the Museum films.  Then again, Levy is attached to damn near everything at the moment, including the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team-up comedy, Interns, which shoots this summer.  After that, who knows.  Hit the jump for more on Levy and The 39 Clues.

Levy talked about a number of upcoming projects in an interview with Steve, but The 39 Clues seems like an even more recent development. Deadline reports Levy’s attachment to The 39 Clues, a series of adventure novels following the brother and sister team of Dan and Amy Cahill.  The siblings are tasked with tracking down the titular clues, which happen to be ingredients in a powerful serum that can create the most powerful person on Earth.  The novels, of which the 16th will be released later this year, have been written by various authors, including Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman and David Baldacci.  Take a look at the synopsis from Riordan’s book,”The Maze of Bones,” the first in the series (via Amazon):

39-clues-book-coverWhen their beloved Aunt Grace dies, Dan, 11, and Amy, 14—along with other Cahill descendants—are faced with an unusual choice: inherit one million dollars or participate in a perilous treasure hunt. Cahills have determined the course of history for centuries, and this quest’s outcome will bring the victors untoward power and affect all of humankind. Against the wishes of nasty Aunt Beatrice, their reluctant guardian since their parents’ deaths, Dan and Amy accept the challenge, convincing their college-age au pair to serve as designated adult. Pitted against other Cahill teams, who will stop at nothing to win, the siblings decipher the first of 39 clues and are soon hot on the historical trail of family member Ben Franklin to unearth the next secret.

Adeptly incorporating a genuine kids’ perspective, the narrative unfolds like a boulder rolling downhill and keeps readers glued to the pages. As the siblings work together to solve puzzles and survive dangers, they develop into well-drawn individuals with their own strengths and personalities. Supporting Cahill cast members come across as intentionally exaggerated caricatures, adding to the tale’s breathless fun. The book dazzles with suspense, plot twists, and snappy humor, but the real treasure may very well be the historical tidbits buried in the story. Part of a multimedia launch including a Web site, collectable game cards, and a 10-title series (penned by different authors), this novel stands solidly on its own feet and will satisfy while whetting appetites for more.


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