Ron Howard in talks to adapt Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Back in April, it was reported that Disney acquired the rights to Neil Gaiman’s fantastic children’s novel The Graveyard Book. When it was announced, Henry Selick – the stop-motion director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline – was set to direct what would be another stop-motion film. Somewhere along the way, the project fell apart or Disney lost confidence.

But the project is seeing new life, according to the Hollywood Reporter, this time with Ron Howard in negotiations to direct what will be a live-action adaptation.

This is great news, of course. The Graveyard Book is the best children’s novel I’ve read since Harry Potter – and in many ways, it was a much more enjoyable read for me. The book follows a young boy named Nobody Owens who is taken in and raised by the inhabitants of an old graveyard after his family is brutally murdered by a man named Jack. Ghosts from all centuries, vampires, werewolves, and a variety of ghouls make up the rich cast of characters where it is the supernatural who fear the humans – not the other way around. It’s thrilling and scary and genuinely touching, hitting on some very mature themes and beautifully exploring the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

The book also won both the Carnegie and Newbery medals for best children’s book.

Have you read the book? If so, what do you think of Howard behind the camera? And are you relieved or bummed that the film will be live-action rather than stop-motion?

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‘The Graveyard Book’ is one of the most beautiful and poetic stories I’ve read, not just in children’s (or young adult) literature, but in literature in general.
A live-action movie will capture the emotion a lot better than stop motion.


Its a great book. Its dark and fanciful. The question is how is the Ron Howard film?

I’m skeptical this will be a good movie. Ron Howard adapting Da Vinci code was a chore to sit through (Gaiman is way better than Brown though).

But Ron Howard strikes me a very pedestrian or workman like choice which I don’t see as being a great match for a creative book.

I do like Willow and Apollo 13 though. So its not like he is untalented.

Matthew Fabb

Henry Selick did a wonderful job with Coraline and I thought he was the perfect choice and stop motion was the perfect medium to bring the story to life. I sounds like Disney wasn’t going to give Henry Selick enough time to pull off a stop motion movie which is never fast.

“The Graveyard Book” has so many supernatural characters in it, that the movie would be difficult to film live action at the best of times and I really don’t think Ron Howard is the one to do it. The other big problem with a live-action Graveyard Book is child actors needed for the movie and really young child actors can always be so hit and miss. Especially problematic is the lead character, who goes from a newborn to 14 years old. Really hard to pull off in live-action, but easy to pull off in stop-motion or animation, or other kind of animation if they went with traditional or 3D animation.


Oh, good point Matthew. I didn’t think about the aging. I still like the concept of live-action more, however. It’s hard for me to get invested in animated works. For example, I cry like a baby when I watch Mel Gibson’s ‘Hamlet’. ‘The Lion King’; nothing.