Victoria Schwab’s young adult fantasy novel A Darker Shade of Magic was released in February 2015 along with the rights to a film adaptation. The rights remained available, however, until the past couple of weeks when a bidding war broke out and Sony Pictures won the rights, beating Fox 2000, eOne, and Lionsgate, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Now that negotiations have begun Gerard Butler has signed on as a producer for the adaption, along with his company G-BASE Productions and colleagues Alan Siegel and Danielle Robinson. Neal Mortiz, who produced Passengers and has a first-look deal with Sony, will also be producing, along with Schwab herself.
Toby Ascher will be executive producing and the project is being overseen by Matt Milam and Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch.
The story of Darker Shade follows a magician, Kell, who is able to travel between four parallel universes that are all connected to London. The four worlds have four very different views on magic; Grey London where magic is disregarded as a myth, Red London where magic is beloved and respected, White London where magic is fought over, and Black London where magic has overwhelmed man. After Kell encounters a London pickpocket named Delilah Bard he’s propelled into a journey that will take him through the worlds and on an epic adventure.
Many filmmakers are vying for the opportunity to leave their mark on the project, since Darker Shades is part of a trilogy and lends itself to more films in the future.