Neil Gaiman Pens “Monkey” Film Series

Award-winning scribe Neil Gaiman has signed on to pen English scripts for a big-budget series of 3D feature films based on “Journey to the West” says The Hollywood Reporter.

The classic Chinese 16th century epic fantasy novel deals with the Monkey King’s misadventures on a pilgrimage across China to India. The work has been adapted numerous times before including TV shows like the classic 70’s series “Monkey”, films like 2008’s “The Forbidden Kingdom”, and video games like last year’s “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West”.

Gaiman will write an outline over the next month that will attract enough investment to enable producer Zhang Jizhong to hire a director, a Western and Chinese cast and a visual effects house. Zhang last year said the film series would cost on the order of around $300 million to make.

Gaiman’s plan is to “make it filmic, non-episodic. This story is in the DNA of 1.5 billion people… We have to do what Peter Jackson did with Lord of The Rings.”

Gaiman’s penned the acclaimed “The Sandman” comics series along with “Coraline” and “Stardust” which were both turned into films in recent years. Gaiman’s most recent on screen work is the script he wrote for an upcoming episode of the sixth season of “Doctor Who”.

Zhang is also behind the upcoming fifty episode Chinese television series adaptation of “Journey to the West”.