Producer David Heyman will adapt Leigh Bardugo's ''Shadow and Bone''

By Anthony Breznican
Updated September 21, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

If there’s a mystical formula for turning a fantasy novel into a blockbuster film, a key ingredient would be producer David Heyman. He launched one of the biggest franchises in movie history by picking up the rights to J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series in the late ’90s, and now he’s aiming to bring Leigh Bardugo‘s Shadow and Bone to the big screen for DreamWorks. The book, which came out in June, follows an orphaned soldier girl through a fantasy version of czarist Russia as she uses her ability to harness the power of light to fend off the darkness-craving fiends that have cut her nation in two. Bardugo is planning two more novels, so the film could easily spawn a trilogy.

Heyman tells EW the eventual screenwriter ”doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who has worked in fantasy. On Potter, Steve Kloves was our screenwriter, and he had never written fantasy or films of that scale.” As for a director, Heyman’s help-wanted ad is simple: ”a visionary.” ”[It will be] quite challenging to visualize the Shadow Fold, an impenetrable and monster-filled swath of darkness that our heroine has to cross,” he says. As Potter loyalists can attest, the darker it gets for the good guys (or girls), the better.