When I was younger I was a huge Clive Barker fan. I read his books voraciously and The Thief of Always was easily one of my favorites. The novel is a dark take on a “children’s story” rather than the author’s usual horror; it’s been a long time since I read it, but I vaguely remember it hitting me in many of the same places as Neil Gaiman’s work.
Unsurprising, it’s long been a candidate for adaptation. Perhaps also unsurprising, it’s had some issues getting to the screen.* But Barker announced over the weekend on his Facebook page that the film is moving forward and it even has a director. A director who he has a history of working with, no less.
Oliver Parker, who played Peloquin in Nightbreed (as well as unnamed characters the first two Hellraisers) will direct the (perhaps sadly) live-action adaptation. Parker is not exactly inexperienced behind the camera, though his IMDB page is a little weird. He directed Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh in Othello, but he’s also responsible for Johnny English Reborn.
Barker did try to assuage any concerns:
The Thief Of Always will as ‘kid friendly’ as the book. (sic) But it won’t sickly sweet. (sic) Where the book is scary the movie will be too. Oliver Parker and I have been talking about making this book into a film for a long time. And his understanding of why I write my stories, and how I create characters could not be deeper.
If he can capture the feel of the book, I’ll be happy. Here’s hoping.
* – I once met Clive Barker at a book signing, and he told me that an adaptation of The Thief of Always would be the next film based on one of his books. This was in 1998. Here’s a list of Clive Barker films since then: Candyman: Day of the Dead, Hellraiser: Inferno, Hellraiser: Hellseeker, Hellraiser: Deader, Hellraiser: Hellworld, Midnight Meat Train, Book of Blood and Dread.