It seems that Hollywood studios are now so desperate for material that they are turning to smart, nuanced graphic novels with intelligence and insight for material. To wit: New Regency has optioned PYONGYANG, the first in French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle’s acclaimed series of travelogues/social commentary. The book concerns his sojourn in North Korea while working on an animation project.
Incredibly, the director attached is Gore Verbinski, probably not the Verbinski of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but maybe the one who made THE MEXICAN? The script is by Steve Conrad (THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS). Although the original contains mostly an account of the strange ways of the North Koreans, the logline Deadline published has added being mistaken for a spy to the storyline.
PYONGYANG is published in North America by Drawn and Quarterly. It’s really an amazing book—as are SHENZEN and JERUSALEM, Delisle’s follow-ups. Well worth checking out.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.