‘Troy’ team casts ‘Spell’

Petersen not likely to helm Anthony's fantasy adaptation

The director and writer of “Troy” are ready to cast “A Spell for Chameleon.”

Warner Bros. has bought rights to the Piers Anthony-penned fantasy novel series “Xanth” to be produced by Wolfgang Petersen and David Benioff, along with Diana Rathbun of Petersen’s Radiant Prods.

“A Spell for Chameleon” is the first book in the series, which will see its 30th installment published next year. Radiant’s Samuel Dickerman will exec produce.

The novels concern a boy named Bink in the world of Xanth, where every inhabitant is supposed to possess magical power. Unless Bink can discover his power, he’ll be banished from his homeland. That leads him on an adventure.

Catalyst in the WB deal was “Troy” scribe Benioff, who said he’s been trying to secure rights to the series for as long as he can remember.

“When ‘Lord of the Rings’ finally got made and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ got set up, I felt that the ‘Xanth’ series was the last great one,” he said.

Deal comes when Benioff’s own dance card is full, so he will work with Petersen and Rathbun to choose a writer and supervise. Benioff, who wrote the upcoming Marc Forster-directed “Stay,” is adapting the George Pelecanos novel “Right as Rain” for director Curtis Hanson. Then he’ll adapt Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” for Christopher Nolan.

Petersen has long been fascinated by kid quest pics, going back to “The Never Ending Story,” the first Hollywood pic he directed after “Das Boot.” Petersen likely won’t direct “A Spell for Chameleon,” as he is prepping to direct an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game,” for Warners. That and an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s “Shutter Island” at Columbia are top candidates for Petersen’s next directing gig.

“What excites me about ‘A Spell for Chameleon’ is that it is a classic hero’s journey in a very fun fantasy setting,” Petersen said “Today’s technology gives us the ability to make a great film from a series of books that has been entertaining readers for 25 years.”

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