Shadowmancer - Press

Last Update: 03 July 2004
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Yorkshire Today

June 23, 2004
Pic tyros dig 'Wormwood'
Fortitude bullish enough to spend $2.8 mil on scribe

Neophyte financier-producer Fortitude Films has paid $1.8 million against
$6.5 million for film rights to "Wormwood," the upcoming novel by
"Shadowmancer" author G.P. Taylor.

Fortitude, led by financier Steve Delaportas and producer Lisa Marie
Butkiewicz, previously paid $1 million against $6.2 million for
"Shadowmancer," which became a U.K. publishing phenomenon and has
spent three of the past four weeks atop the New York Times bestseller
list for children's chapter books.
Taylor, an Episcopalian vicar who took up writing when a shoulder injury
sidelined him from playing golf, has come a long way since he sold his
Harley and used the proceeds to self-publish "Shadowmancer" several
years ago. Aside from his second seven-figure movie check, Taylor will
once again get 15% of merchandising proceeds off the film adaptation.
Scribe was pleased enough by the progress on "Shadowmancer" to give
Fortitude first crack at "Wormwood," to be published by Putnam Sept.
9 in the U.S. It's already a bestseller in the U.K.
The book's title refers to a mythical comet that, according to an ancient
text, will smash into the Earth. A young housemaid in 18th-century London
swipes the volume and must decipher the text and stop the comet.
While Taylor considers "Wormwood" to be the second volume in a thematic
trilogy -- he's writing the third book right now -- the characters are
completely new and so the book is a free-standing movie property. Butkiewicz
got an early peek, and her enthusiasm prompted Delaportas to cut
another seven-figure check. They're now out of pocket $2.8 million and
have yet to produce a film, but the Fortitude principals are bullish about
their investment.
"If you want to be an entity in any industry, you have to make a commitment,"
said Delaportas, a venture capitalist.
"We are not going to studios and saying we've just fallen off the turnip truck
and want to make a movie deal," he said. "We have the trust of a major
author, and we're confident we'll soon be sitting on a lot somewhere with
an output deal and a distribution deal. Artists want to know you are
committed and in this town, that means ponying up the bucks."
Delaportas and Butkiewicz said they are in discussions with a studio on
They will delay hiring a screenwriter or director until they lock in a deal,
but they have employed artists who've worked with the author to make
detailed storyboards for the epic fantasy tale. Those artists are part of
Fortitude Animation, an upstart venture that Delaportas and Butkiewicz
are putting together even as they forge ahead on the live-action front
with Taylor's bestsellers.



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