Apr. 5th, 2007

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Thursday April 5 4:49 AM ET

The world of Edward Gorey is coming to the big screen for the first time with a live-action feature based on the illustrator-writer's classic tale "The Doubtful Guest."

The project is being developed by Walden Media, the firm behind the "Narnia" franchise, Fox 2000 and the Jim Henson Co. Brad Peyton ("Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl") will direct from a script written by Matthew Huffman.

Gorey, who died in 2000 at age 75, was an artist and writer known for his macabre bent, with works that had an ominous and somewhat Victorian air. His influence can be seen in the works of Tim Burton and in music videos like Nine Inch Nails' "The Perfect Drug," and while none of his works has ever reached the silver screen, the opening titles of the PBS series "Mystery!" done in animation style are based on his art. He also was a successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony for his Broadway production of "Edward Gorey's Dracula."

Originally published in 1957, the whimsical story revolves around a quirky family whose life is turned upside down when a mysterious, mischievous creature arrives unannounced and unwelcome, bringing trouble with him and wreaking havoc.

"It's hard to come up with a creature that you've never seen before in any medium, and he's a unique little creation who is very appealing without being cute or cloying," Jim Henson Co. co-CEO Lisa Henson said. "He's sophisticated yet simple at the same time, but it's not overly juvenile. Adults can find him cute, too."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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