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DMG Nabs Rights to Ken Liu’s Fantasy Epic ‘Grace of Kings,’ Plans Film Franchise (EXCLUSIVE)

DMG Entertainment has nabbed worldwide film and licensing rights to “The Grace of Kings,” with an eye toward turning the fantasy series into a franchise, Variety has learned exclusively.

The company is fast-tracking production and has tapped Michael Ross (“Fallen”) to write the screenplay. The deal is not only for “The Grace of Kings” but for its two upcoming sequels. The book was the debut of Ken Liu and focused on two men, one a bandit and the other the son of deposed duke, who rise up against a cruel emperor. Later, their alliance cracks and they find themselves fighting over how best to run society. It is the first volume in what Liu has called “The Dandelion Dynasty” series. Liu has described the genre as “silk punk,” by which he means it’s a blend of science-fiction and fantasy that integrates elements of classical East Asian antiquity. That should help the film play well in China and the United States, or so the thinking goes.

DMG CEO, Dan Mintz will produce the film and DMG EVP of Creative Chris Cowles will serve as executive producer.

“We are excited to bring Ken’s groundbreaking trilogy of novels to audiences around the world. Ken tells this spectacular story told in an ambitious and surprising way that flips the genre of epic fantasy on its head,” Mintz said.

Liu’s work has won the the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards in the United States, as well as the Chinese Galaxy Award, the French Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, the Japanese Seiun, and the Spanish Premio Ignotus.

He’s also earned critical acclaim. In a rave review, NPR’s Amal El-Mohtar wrote that “Liu’s world is beautiful, nuanced, fierce, original and diverse.”

In a statement, Liu said that “The Grace of Kings” drew on Western epics like the Iliad, the Aeneid, Beowulf, and Paradise Lost.

“I’m delighted that the film rights for ‘Grace of Kings’ are in the hands of DMG, a studio with a global vision and a worldwide reach,” He said.

DMG Entertainment is a global media company, that’s had particular success at breaking into the Chinese market — no easy feat given the hurdles that foreign productions have to navigate in order to get seen in the Asian country. The company’s Chinese component, DMG Yinji, is listed on the Shenzhen stock market. The studio is presently in production on John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” and recently converted James Cameron’s “Terminator 2” into 3D. Other upcoming releases include “Bastards” with Owen Wilson and Ed Helms, and “Collide,” an action-adventure with Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult.

Simon & Schuster and Saga Press published The Grace of Kings in 2015. Liu is repped by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company and Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, and Michael Ross is repped by CAA, DMG, and attorney James Feldman.

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