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THE SEEKER THE DARK IS RISING

Adapting A Classic
"I was familiar with the Susan Cooper series of books, The Dark Is Rising for many, many years,” says Platt. "In fact, Susan and her former writing partner - the late great actor and writer Hume Cronyn - were very dear friends of mine. So, these are books I always followed with great interest in terms of their potential journey to film. And one day, about two years ago I had reason to call Susan just to wish her well, and see how she was doing.

"Out of the blue, I asked her, ‘Susan, whatever happened to the option that was running on The Dark Is Rising series, I know for many years there was talk in making it a film.' She said, ‘It's funny, you should call me today because the option expires today.' And I thought, well that's kismet, that is someone, and I always thought it was Hume Cronyn, sort of looking down from above and saying, ‘This is the moment. Make it happen.' 

"So, I hang up the phone from Susan. I made a couple of phone calls. And literally within a week I had sold the movie rights to the book The Dark Is Rising to Walden. I feel like there's a destiny in this whole process, not just for the main character of the movie, but in our journey to bringing these books to the screen as well.”

For Platt, there was nobody who could better update Susan Cooper's "literary treasure,” than screenwriter John Hodge. "John Hodge is a writer whose work I've been familiar with for so many years. He's written some great movies, particularly for the great filmmaker Danny Boyle. And John writes with humor but a darkness and an edge. And that seemed to be a perfect fit with THE SEEKER, which is a movie for audiences of all ages, so to speak, but has a lot of dark corners to it, and a deep sense of mystery and foreboding. And that's present on all of John's writings. The marriage of John to this material felt particularly apt.”

Certainly, The Seeker's mission is crucial for the filmmakers. As in the novel upon which it is based, the big battle scenes against evil are the focus of the action. For Hodge, the challenge in adapting the story for the big screen lay in making a metaphysical tale a more cinematic experience. "The book is quite lyrical and fluid in the sense that it's perhaps not written in the commercial way that many authors would write children's books nowadays because a lot of them will have one eye on the film rights. So it's not structured quite so…rigidly,” says Hodge. The changes, according to Hodge, were essential to bring the excitement of Susan Cooper's work to the screen. 

"I thought it was going to be tricky to adapt at first,” he adds, "because a lot of the book is sort of flights of fancy inside the boy's head. So as with any adaptation, you're looking for ways to dramatize what is more internal in the novel. This one called for some sort of re-thinking.”

"Essentially, this is the story of a 14-year-old boy, Will Stanton, who finds himself caught up in the eternal struggle between good and evil, which are called the Light and the Dark” says screenwriter John Hodge. "He discovers that he is not just a normal 14-year-old boy, but that he is in fact someone called The Seeker who has some special insight, some special powers and a specific task, which is to find these six little signs in which is hidden the power of the Light.

"In this point in history, with evil ascending, he has to find these six signs, restore the power of the Light and then defeat the Dark,” he continues, "What I liked most about it was the fact that it was a story of a boy, and a modern-day, real boy having kind of real family and growing-up type problems. And for me they were the heart of the book. And then on top of this there's the fact that he has to save the world” Hodge chuckles. 

"Scripts and novels have different demands. There's always far more in any novel than you could possibly fit in a screenplay.

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