Development Deal: Amelia Cole
If there’s one thing that a quick look at the current state of television and movies will tell you, it’s that there’s not much need for original ideas when there’s so much out there ready and waiting to be adapted, updated or just outright ripped off. That’s why we’ve decided to help in that process with a series that offers up some of the things we’d like to see being brought to big screen or small. This week’s suggestion? Amelia Cole and The Unknown World.
What Is It?
A title from the Monkeybrain line of digital comics, Amelia Cole is a young adult fantasy comic that handles familiar genre tropes (parallel worlds, magic-as-lifestyle, young heroes launched into destinies that they’re not prepared for) with enough wit, style and smarts that set it apart in modern comics; the titular character is a magician who becomes stranded on another world by accident, but instead of bemoaning her fate, sets out to improve it – little knowing that, of course, danger and dark forces are conspiring around the corner.
What Could It Be?
One of the things I’ve said often when recommending Amelia Cole to people – which itself has happened often; this is one of my favorite comics of the year – is that it manages to take all the ingredients that you “want” from this kind of story, and yet serve them up in such a way that they seem fresh and exciting, rather than familiar or half-hearted. A lot of that, I think is down to the clear love that creators Adam P. Knave, DJ Kirkbride and Nick Brokenshire have for the story and the characters – This is one of those things where you suspect the creators’ love for the material has become contagious – but it helps that they make consistently smart choices in the storytelling, zigging where you expect a zag, and keeping the story moving where others would dwell endlessly. “It feels like the Next Big Thing, except it’s not actually been discovered, yet,” I tell people while they nod cautiously, trying to get away.
Since the series has started, I’ve found myself hoping for the Amelia Cole movie; something that could push it into the pop culture consciousness as a female-led response to the Harry Potter franchise, a magic story for kids that spoke less to British class consciousness and tradition and more to a sense of possibility that magic stories should have. YA genre novel series have proven to be mainstream movie successes, whether it’s Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games, and after this summer’s Avengers, I doubt you’d find anyone in Hollywood doubting the value of comic books as source material, so surely a combination of the two should be a winning formula, right…?
For some reason, I see this summer’s Amazing Spider-Man as a model for how to turn Amelia Cole into a movie; put relative unknowns in the main roles, and use more familiar faces for the supporting characters (Patricia Clarkson for Dani, perhaps…?). My undying love for Amelie makes me wonder if Jean-Pierre Jeunet would be available to direct, but if not, someone with a similar visual verve would be ideal.
The idea of a “sure thing” in movies is… well, ridiculous, to be polite (After all, nobody knows anything, as William Goldman once memorably put it), but nonetheless, Amelia Cole feels both close enough to things that have been successful, yet far enough from them to still be original and have that all-important novelty about it, to feel as close as possible to that mythical status. Memo to any Movie Folk reading: Consider your development dollars being put into this, just for fun.