Amblin Entertainment has acquired the rights to the 1973 John Bellairs children's book The House With a Clock in Its Walls, with Eli Roth coming aboard to direct this adaptation and Jack Black signing on to star. Eric Kripke, who is best known for creating the hit CW series Supernatural, wrote the adapted screenplay. The writer has been on board this project since 2011, but now this children's book adaptation is finally moving in the right direction.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Eric Kripke will serve as a producer alongside Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt. It was Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt's company Mythology Entertainment, which they formed with Laeta Kalogridis, that set Eric Kripke to write the script back in 2011. It remains unclear how faithful this adaptation will be to the original source material. This new report reveals that Jack Black will play the uncle to a young boy, who owns a terrifying Victorian mansion.
The story centers on an orphaned boy who moves into his uncle's mansion. After hearing strange noises throughout the house, the young orphan discovers a number of secret passageways and hidden rooms throughout this abode, discovering that his uncle is actually a warlock. After finding his uncle's book of spells, he resurrects an evil wizard who sets a chain of supernatural events in motion that is tied to an ancient clock within the house's walls, which "is designed to bring about doomsday."
This children's book was the first in a long-running series started by John Bellairs, which includes his two follow-ups The Figure in the Shadows (1975) and The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring (1976). After the author passed away in 1991, the Lewis Barnavelt series was continued by writer Brad Strickland, who wrote The Ghost in the Mirror (1993), The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (1993), The Doom of the Haunted Opera (1995), The Specter from the Magician's Museum (1998), The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge (2000), The Tower at the End of the World (2001), The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost (2003), The House Where Nobody Lived (2006) and The Sign of the Sinister Sorcerer (2008). It's possible that this adaptation could spawn a franchised based on the rest of these books.
Jack Black will next be seen in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, where he will star alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, which hits theaters this December, and he will also star in The Polka King, which doesn't have a release date quite yet. Eli Roth recently wrapped his Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis, and he also served as a co-producer on Baywatch. Hopefully we'll have more on The House With a Clock In Its Walls adaptation very soon.