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P.J. Hogan to Bring Jeff Smith's 'Bone' to the Screen

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Now that "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" are done and "The Hobbit" films fast approach, you might be wondering what the next big fantasy epic on the horizon could be.

Look no further than "Bone," Jeff Smith's indie comic book sensation that's one part Walt Disney, one part Hayao Miyazaki, and about eight parts "Lord of the Rings."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is now one step closer to bringing this charming piece of cartoon mythology to the screen courtesy of director P.J. Hogan ("My Best Friend's Wedding") and screenwriter Patrick Sean Smith who created the hit ABC Family show "Greek."

The Australian Hogan previously delved into the realm of mythmaking with his 2003 "Peter Pan," which proved, if nothing else, that the guy can handle a visual effect or two. Warners has had good luck in the past hiring Aussies to helm movies with little animated creatures a la George Miller's "Happy Feet." Perhaps not coincidentally, Dan Lin of Lin Pictures and Animal Logic (the company behind "Happy Feet") is producing the adaptation, although they have yet to announce if it will be full-on animation or a live-action/animated hybrid.

Those animated creatures in question would be the three pint-sized protagonists known as Bones, who resemble marshmallowy white creatures with no discernible genitalia, somewhere between a Hobbit and a Smurf. Smiley Bone is the sunny, cigar smokin' lunkhead, Phoney Bone the greedy opportunist and Fone Bone the naïve hero with a thing for Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick."

After Phoney gets the trio run out of Boneville by an angry mob, they set off on an adventure involving dragons, old-sage warriors and giant rat creatures who love quiche. Prophecies are fulfilled, quests are quested, all with a healthy mix of humor in the face of increasingly dark circumstance.

Smith spent more than a decade working on his 1,342-page masterpiece, which Time named one of the 10 best English language graphic novels ever written. Himself an animator, he flirted with directing the picture himself for Nickelodeon, but balked at attempts to insert cheesy pop songs into the mix. Hopefully Hogan can faithfully recreate both the darkness and whimsy of the book, which could possibly form a trilogy.

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