A Simple Plan

On the face of it, Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series of young adult novels should be a total home-run in live action format.  Harry Potter, but about spies instead of wizards.

Over twenty million copies have been sold worldwide as they capture the imagination of young boys everywhere.  And why not?  It’s an entertaining, fantastical tale about an orphaned teen boy who lives with his wealthy guardian uncle.

At his expensive private school he studies languages, technology and politics among other things.

When his uncle is not on regular business overseas, they engage in many adventurous activities together.  Motocross, skiing, scuba diving, car racing, boxing, shooting, climbing, and martial arts, etc.

When his uncle fails to return from a business trip the truth is revealed.  Not only was his uncle one of the government’s top intelligence operatives, but all these extreme hobbies and premium education have been for a reason.  To prepare Alex for the tasks ahead.

Failure To Launch?

The previous attempt at a screen adaptation, the 2006 film version of the first novel Stormbreaker starred Alex Pettyfer and Ewan McGregor.  It flopped at the box-office and didn’t please critics.

Part of this was because the tone was wildly uneven, alternating back and forth between overly earnest James Bond Jr and a childish version of Austin Powers.  The novels, while ridiculous, play everything completely straight.

Now they’ve had another go, this time Eleventh Hour Films and Sony Pictures Television have decided to present a story as an eight eight-part drama series.

The Promise

This SHOULD be something to look forward to.  If it follows the book’s blueprint then it’s “Boys Own Adventure” time.

This should be a show that fathers can sit down and watch with their sons, aged anything from eight to sixteen, and enjoy.  It should be entertaining enough for Dad while allowing the son to indulge in his James Bond and Ethan Hunt age appropriate fantasies.

Sony have just released the first trailer.

Otto Farrant (Mrs. Wilson) stars in the project which will provide an origin story while skipping the first book and jumping straight to the second – Point Blanc – which follows the schoolboy, Rider, on a journey from London to an adventure in the French Alps.

Sony clearly has faith.  They have loaded up on the talent while The Borgias writer Guy Burt begins the TV treatment.

Brenock O’Connor, Stephen Dillane, Vicky McClure, Andrew Buchan, Ronke Adekoluẹjo, Ace Bhatti, and Nyasha Hatendi also star while Das Boot director Andreas Prochaska is behind the camera.

Not only are Sony backing it themselves, they are also funding it without a commissioning broadcaster attached.  It will be shopped to buyers later this year – hence there’s no broadcaster, streaming service or premiere date yet.

If they handle this correctly, and with twenty million novels sold and an established fan-base, we could well see a bidding war.

Dads everywhere wait with baited breath!