Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane isn’t even in bookstores yet, but EW can confirm that a film adaptation of the novel is already in the works. Playtone co-founders Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are closing a deal to adapt the story for the screen — and they’ve also snagged Atonement and Anna Karenina director Joe Wright to helm the project.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a dark modern fantasy set in the English countryside. Here’s how publisher William Morrow describes it:
“It began for our narrator 40 years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed — within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.
“His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.”
The slim novel — it’s only 192 pages long — will be released June 18. Its screen incarnation will not be Playtone’s first Gaiman adaptation; the production company is also developing an HBO series based on the author’s Hugo-winning novel American Gods.