EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is to adapt YA graphic novel Heartstopper as an eight-part series with Doctor Who and Sherlock helmer Euros Lyn attached to direct.
This comes eighteen months after See-Saw Films, the company behind Top of the Lake and State of the Union, optioned the rights to Alice Oseman’s comic.
The half-hour series will be written by Oseman, who previously published YA novels including Solitaire, Radio Silence and I Was Born For This!.
Heartstopper tells the story of Nick and Charlie, two British teens at an all-boys grammar school. Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, who one day are made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised. Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger.
Heartstopper was originally launched as a web comic via Tumblr and Tapas before subsequently being published by Hachette Children’s Group
The television series will be exec produced by Lyn and See-Saw’s Patrick Walters, Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman with Zorana Piggott (Fanny Lye Deliver’d) as producer.
Creator Oseman said she was “over the moon” that Heartstopper had landed at Netflix. “I feel incredibly lucky to get to work with a team of passionate, creative people who all adore Heartstopper and want to make it the most beautiful show we can. It’s a joy and an honour to get to re-tell Nick and Charlie’s story for TV and I am so excited to share it not only with Heartstopper’s existing readership, but also a whole new audience around the world.”
Alexi Wheeler, Director, Kids & Family Content, said that he knew they were being pitched something “incredible” the first-time that See-Saw introduced him to Oseman and that “there was no way we could not make it”.
“It was clear right away that Alice not only had created these brilliant and emotionally engaging characters, but the world they populated was relatable yet somehow aspirational. The whole thing is just so poignant and beautifully crafted. To tell a love story between two boys who meet at school involves such vision and creative focus, Alice has absolutely delivered this here,” he said.
“When we started to develop the project we collectively decided that Alice had such a clear vision that it would make sense for her to adapt and write the episodes herself; this has paid dividends and we are confident that the 8 episodes we have commissioned will live up to the expectations of existing fans while also engaging a new audience. Alice is only 26 years old but her talent as a storyteller is astounding,” he added.
Director Lyn added that he can’t wait to “bring the drama and humour of this joyous boy-meets-boy love story to the screen”, while See-Saw Films’ Executive Producer Patrick Walters called it a “joyful tonic for these troubled times”.
Oseman is represented by Emily Hayward-Whitlock at The Artists Partnership and Claire Wilson at RCW Literary Agency. Lyn is represented by Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent Group.
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