20/10/2009. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Disney is set to turn 'Airman', a fantasy steampunk tale from the pen of Artemis Fowl author Eoin Colfer, into a movie. Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers studio is set to join forces with Disney in making the film. The book is a Victorian age Zorro/Count of Monte Cristo hybrid.
There's been a lot of interest from film-makers in creating steampunk movies bubbling around (e.g. in January 2008, Stephen Hunt's novel The Court of the Air was the only fantasy/scifi book selected by the Berlinale, Europe's largest Film Festival, for presentation to film makers that year), and steampunk movie projects are now finally coming to fruition.
Ann Peacock is handling the adaptation for Zemeckis (she also did the adaptation for The Chronicles of Narnia film).
In Airman, the hero, Conor, lives on the Saltee Islands off the Irish coast ruled by King Nicholas Trudeau in a fictional 1890s. Conor buds up with the king's daughter Isabella after saving her from a mysterious fire in the castle intended to end the royal line.
The evil head of the army, Marshall Bonvilain, then frames Conor for the king's murder and sends him to a prison island to mine diamonds. Conor escapes vowing revenge, learns the sabre, and becomes a hang glider-flying (and gas-propelled aeroplane building) Zorro-style avenger known only as the Airman.
For Zemeckis, let's hope that this film is another Forrest Gump, Back to the Future or Who Framed Roger Rabbit... rather than his more recent Polar Express.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA