Robert Kirkman's acclaimed zombie epic just took one more step towards a fully-fledged life on the small screen.
Variety is reporting that the AMC Network has greenlit a pilot for a "Walking Dead" TV series after reviewing the screenplay adaptation submitted by "Shawshank Redemption" director Frank Darabont. While the step does not ensure that fans will see a full show inspired by the Image Comics series hit the cable airwaves, the fact that a pilot will be committed to film for the channel known for high quality original programming such as "Mad Men" is a good sign for fans of the series.
When Kirkman spoke to CBR about the AMC deal last September, the writer said that a TV adaptation was "the only thing that really makes sense to me. The thing that makes 'The Walking Dead' unique and interesting is that it's a zombie movie that never ends – that's the log line or whatever. To do a zombie movie that's based on that? Kinda dumb."
Kirkman went on to say of Darabont's involvement with the project, "I think a really good indication that he's going to handle the series really well is his recent movie, 'The Mist.' A lot of people don't realize that Frank is a genre guy – he wrote 'The Blob,' he wrote 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.' He got his start doing horror stuff and he's a huge horror and sci-fi fan. He's been going to Comic-Con every year just for fun, whether he's putting a movie out or not. He kind of lives this stuff. If you watch 'The Mist,' you'll see that he can do the character development – he's an excellent writer – but 'The Mist' is a big indication that he knows how to handle the subject matter."
According to Variety, the pilot's development will include famed genre producer Gale Anne Hurd ("The Terminator," "The Incredible Hulk"). The network also greenlit a pilot for an adaptation of a Danish crime drama called "The Killing." However, at this point no casting announcements have been made for either show.
UPDATE: Image Comics has released the following Press Release
Variety reported today that Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's ongoing tale of survival horror in a post-apocalyptic world, THE WALKING DEAD, has been greenlit as a pilot by AMC.
"THE WALKING DEAD's road to the small screen has been a long one, but so far it's looking like the best of all worlds," creator and writer Robert Kirkman said. "Given AMC's track record with shows like 'Madmen' and 'Breaking Bad,' combined with Frank Darabont writing and directing, I couldn't possibly be more excited for this to come together. Having the pilot greenlit is a huge leap forward to this becoming a reality."
THE WALKING DEAD has been published by Image Comics since 2003, with the series' 69th issue due in stores next week. Current plans are for the AMC series to closely adapt the storylines presented in the monthly comics.
In addition to the ongoing com ics series, there are 11 trade paperbacks currently in print, collecting issues 1-66, along with a series of five hardcovers covering #1-60. The first 48 issues have also been collected in two limited edition slipcased hardcovers and a softcover compendium. Across are formats the series remains a sales juggernaut with the title charting on the New York Times' graphic novels bestsellers list numerous times.
"Since its debut in October 2003, THE WALKING DEAD has been nothing short of unstoppable," said Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson. "Over the last five years, sales on both the single issues and the trade paperback and hardcover collections have gone from strength to strength, so it's no surprise that THE WALKING DEAD is now poised for success on TV. Everyone at Image is very excited to see this project come to light."
THE WALKING DEAD #69, a 32-page black and white comic priced at $2.99, will be on sale at finer comic book stores everywhere January 27.
Image Comics is a comics and graphic novels publisher formed in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Since that time, Image has gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. There are currently five partners in Image Comics (Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino), and Image is currently divided into four major houses (Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, and Image Central). Image comics and graphic novels cover nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable, offering science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor, and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com.
Stay tuned to CBR as more information becomes available on the future of "The Walking Dead" on TV!