Series creator ramps up pic, ancillary effort Stateside

“The Tribe” may next settle in Hollywood.

The TV series, which picked up a rabid young fanbase worldwide after launching in New Zealand and the U.K. and spun off 18 bestselling novels and two soundtrack albums over its five-year run, is being developed as a film by creator Raymond Thompson.

Former William Morris agent Alan Gasmer and entertainment lawyer Eric Feig will co-produce with Thompson’s Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment shingle. Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop has already agreed to tackle the project’s special effects and overall design duties should the bigscreen project land a greenlight. Richard Taylor and his team there would oversee the project. Weta worked on episodes of the TV show.

Project is not yet set up at a studio, but Thompson is penning the script. Pic will introduce “The Tribe” property to U.S. auds under the name “Tribes.” The partners hope the film will lead to the launch of a new TV show Stateside, as well as comicbooks, videogames and merchandise.

Timing of the adaptation comes after the success of “Twilight” and as Hollywood seems to be picking up nearly every young-adult novel that’s been published, as well as properties that offer up an existing fanbase and built-in awareness.

“The Tribe” certainly targets that young demo. Property is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which children and teenagers must fend for themselves and build their own society after a virus has wiped out all the adults.

“I always wanted to do a movie version and work with a bigger canvas” to explore the world set up in the TV show, Thompson told Variety. “With the right director, it would be exciting to explore the themes” of kids building a new society.

“It speaks to young people,” Thompson added. “What’s inherent in all of us is this idea about young people changing the world.”

Cloud 9 produced nearly 300 half-hour episodes of “The Tribe.” Last new episode aired in 2003.

Series, co-produced with the U.K.’s Channel Five, has aired on over 40 networks since it bowed in 1999. Channel 5 continued the show for a season in 2005 with a spinoff, “The New Tomorrow,” that featured a younger set of new characters.

During its run, a series of books were published that expanded on the world and further developed the characters.

Record labels offered up tracks from their music acts to play during the series, enabling producers to launch two albums.

Cast members were also regulars at Comic-Con-like conventions, where they were thronged by fans, and toured with the United Nations Children’s Fund to promote children’s rights. Burger King launched a promotion tied to the show in New Zealand.

“The fanbase is quite large,” Thompson said, “but it’s never been exposed to Americans to any degree. My dream has always been to introduce this to an American audience.”

Thompson is repped by Gasmer, while Cloud 9 is repped by Nelson, Davies, Wetzstein.

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