Repeat Offenders, a new UK company developing graphic novels with cinema potential, is at work on its first two projects, both based on the work of lauded comics duo Pat Mills and Clint Langley.
Trudie Styler's Xingu Films has acquired big-screen rights to upcoming graphic novel American Reaper created by writer Pat Mills and illustrator Clint Langley. Mills will adapt the screenplay himself.
Also, Repeat Offenders co-founder Jeremy Davis says that another forthcoming title, Dinosty, again by Mills and Langley, has seen 'some very strong interest' from other major players for an adaptation. Mills describes that project as 'Dinosaurs versus Robin Hood.'
American Reaper is set in a future world where identity theft can involve having young people's minds erased for a second chance at youth or for more sinister means. Xingu previously produced the forthcoming Moon starring Sam Rockwell and Sundance award-winner A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints.
Mills is famed for creating comic 2000 AD in 1977 and his role in the development of Judge Dredd. He has also achieved success in the US with Marshall Law. Langley has been collaborating with Mills since 1991.
Repeat Offenders, set up by Davis, Mills and Langley in December 2007, currently holds the rights to two more Mills and Langley projects as well: The Hanging Judge and Cuchulain. The company has also been approached by third-party graphic novelists keen for Repeat Offenders to represent their work.
Davis, who is also the founder of UK DVD label Brightspark, said he saw a lot of cinematic potential in Mills and Langley's work. 'I realised that pretty much all of what Pat and Clint had done had been used in some form or another in films, but they had rarely been party to the full picture,' Davis says of setting up Repeat Offenders.
The collaboration with Xingu on American Reaper came about after Davis met Xingu's Alex Francis (who will produce the film with Styler) and persuaded him to look at the graphic novel. Francis says: 'I was thrilled when Jeremy Davis chose to come to us with the first project to come out of their new company, Repeat Offenders, and I don't think I've ever moved this quickly to try to land a deal.'
There has also been interest from games publishers to turn the American Reaper in to a video game.
Davis, who will serve as executive producer of American Reaper, said that the production costs for the film will be 'north of $50m, but could be more like $100m.' He hopes the project will start filming as early as summer 2009.
Styler added in a statement: 'It's rare for us to sign up ot a project based on just a proposal, but the opportunity to work with proven talent like Pat and Clint from such an early stage, on a project with so much potential, was just too good to pass up.'