In June 2008, I wrote about how Steven Spielberg had picked up the rights to a yet-to-be published series of children’s books called “The 39 Clues.” Spielberg planned to direct an adaptation of the first book, which at that time only existed as an outline from “Percy Jackson and Olympians” writer Rick Riordan. A few months later we got news that Jeff Nathanson would write the adaptation.
Now it’s May 2012, almost four years later. Spielberg is long gone from the project. Brett Ratner was attached to direct at some point but then left. Today, then, we have news from Deadline that Shawn Levy will direct the film. The plan, of course, is to create a family friendly franchise like Levy’s “Night at the Museum.”
Here’s what the book is all about:
The book is an adventure that includes cards and an online game that gives clues to a mystery with a cash prize for the kid who figures it out. The book series revolves around the Cahills, a powerful family who count Napoleon and Houdini among their relatives [warning: Kids, do not use these books to study for your social studies test]. The movie is framed as an epic family adventure about two ordinary kids whose discovery that they are part of the world’s most powerful family sets them off on a globe-trotting treasure hunt.
I’ve never seen a kid reading one of these books or heard anyone talk about them. I wonder how they’ve been selling.
Anyway, this was clearly designed to be a multi-platform attack as the kids in media say, so the books are only a small component. Now it’s all about getting the film launched.
Levy, whose “Real Steel” was in theaters last fall, is set to direct “Interns” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson next, and then will tackle “The 39 Clues.” I hope I’m still not writing about this film in four more years.