Ed Whitworth writing Merlin saga for Warner Bros

MUMBAI: Ed Whitworth is to write The Lost Years of Merlin for Warner Bros.’ big-budget adaptation of the first book of the fantasy series by T.A. Barron. Donald De Line is going to produce the film.

The film will trace Merlin’s journey from being a boy washed on the shores of Wales with no memory and no home, to him who sets to become a young man learning to use his powers and ultimately defender of the natural world and become an eventual mentor to King Arthur.

The project previously had been at Paramount, but the option ran out and Warners, looking for a suitable replacement for its billion-dollar Harry Potter franchise, picked it up with De Line.

The studio then set upon a quest for a scribe to tackle what it hopes will be a new spell-binding tentpole.

Whitworth studied at Oxford and worked as a journalist at the Times of London before heading west and enrolling in UCLA’s screenwriting programme. He worked as a reader for ICM and then for Harpo last year which gave him time to write in his spare moments.

Although Whitworth found representation at management outfit Circle of Confusion, none of his spec scripts seemed to take. Still, he continued to write. Last year, Whitworth wrote a biopic on Colin Powell titled Powell that mixed fact and fiction to tell the behind-the-scene dealings leading up to Powell’s United Nations speech making the case for the war in Iraq.

The script made the rounds this spring, generating notice in the development community, and six weeks ago Whitworth signed with WME. That led to a series of general meet-and-greets with executives including those from Warners and De Line Productions.

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