Imitation Game's Morten Tyldum to direct adaptation of Lauren Beukes' THE SHINING GIRLS

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Ever since bursting onto the scene with her Cape Town based dystopian cyberpunk novel Moxyland back in 2008, local author Lauren Beukes has been making quite a name for herself. He subsequent fictional novels/short stories have racked up numerous awards and nominations, her non-fictional work in books and magazines have been just as well received, and she’s been setting the comic book world alight with her work on a handful of titles for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint.

Her work has often been highly imaginative and off the wall (like Zoo City, in which anybody that commits murder gets a magical animal familiar that grants them supernatural abilities), steeped in socio-political commentary and just plain cool. So it’s no surprise that over the years we’ve heard lots of reports of her stories being optioned for adaptation on TV and film. But that’s about where the adaptation development news has ended – options. Up until now, that is.

Previously we had heard that Leonardo DiCaprio had picked up the rights to Beukes’ 2013 multiple award-winning novel The Shining Girls with the intention to develop a TV series, but now Variety is reporting that instead the time-travel serial killer thriller is instead being turned into a feature film. And they already have a director lined up in Norwegian-born filmmaker Morten Tyldum.

Tyldum first gained international fame with his highly acclaimed 2011 feature film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s action thriller novel Headhunters, but then truly hit the big time when he helmed The Imitation Game. The brilliant WWII set biopic of Alan Turing (starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role) would pick up one Oscar win and seven other nominations, including a Best Director nod for Tyldum. It also featured a script that saw it jumping around in time significantly, although Tyldum managed it all magnificently.

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I mention this last point because Tyldum is currently wrapping up production on Passengers, a sci-fi film starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence which also involves a whole lot of timey-whimey convolutions. And all of this will definitely be good practice for The Shining Girls which follows a serial killer in 1930’s Chicago who discovers a mysterious derelict home in which every room leads him to a different era in time. The killer thus uses the house to kill his victims all in different eras, leaving anachronistic clues at each scene, which is picked up by a would-be victim in modern times who is trying to piece it all together.

And if that sounds like it could get a bit complicated, that’s because it can as that pic above of Beukes standing in front of her narrative timeline indicates. Luckily, she also writes one hell of a good yarn, so it was also incredibly thrilling to read. Hopefully, the movie will follow suit. Just when that happens though is still unknown as Tyldum still has “The Last Days of Night – “which chronicles the rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse after Edison landed the patent for the first electrical current” – lined up before he can get to Shining Girls. There’s also the small matter of there not being a script in place or any casting done yet, but that shouldn’t be a problem for movie that can time travel.

Last Updated: June 7, 2016

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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