Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Via Angry Robot, publishers of Zoo City:

Helena Spring, widely regarded as one of South Africa’s most accomplished motion picture producers, has just been awarded the highly sought-after film rights to Zoo City, the Sci-Fi thriller penned by South African author Lauren Beukes – who garnered the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction novel. In the wake of whopping sales figures, multiple awards and critical acclaim Beukes’ book generated fierce interest from numerous bidders in the entertainment industry, putting Spring alongside major US and UK producers eager to tell Beukes’ unique tale.

Zoo City was published first in South Africa by Jacana Media and thereafter internationally by by Angry Robot.

The urban fantasy is set in a futuristic, gritty and hard-core Johannesburg where the eponymous ghetto has been colonised by society’s outcasts – like criminals, drug-dealers and psychopaths, and their animal companions. Like the other residents of the Zoo City slum, Zinzi, the anti-heroine, is “animalled”, but she is also a shrewd, street-smart girl with the gift (or burden) of finding lost things. Zinzi wears her power animal, a sloth, on her back. When she is hired to find a missing teenybopper star, she hopes that it will be her ticket out of Hell’s waiting room.

“I’m delighted to have secured the film and television rights for Zoo City,” commented Helena Spring. “It is a groundbreaking, magical novel begging for a life on the big screen. Lauren’s storytelling is masterful – edgy and futuristic, unique yet universal. It is high in entertainment value yet emotionally charged, a dream project for any producer.”

An easy and obvious choice for this project would be Neill Blomkamp, the acclaimed director of District 9. Not only is Blomkamp South African himself, but his films are well known for their artistic vision and high-end use of CGI to create believable alien creatures, a trait that would be put to excellent use in Zoo City, which features animal familiars similar to those found in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (and I think we can all agree that we hope this adaptation is more successful the stodgy adaptation of Pullman’s work). Promises are always dicey (and often left unfulfilled) whenever the film world is involved, so, as always, Zoo City fans should temper their excitement somewhat, but it’s still great to see Beukes recognized and rewarded for her work.

  • Biblibio December 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Huh. I would never have thought of Zoo City being made into a movie, but it could actually work well if done properly (stress on those last two words…). I’m curious to see what they might do.