Henson Gets Paws on Varjak

Daily Variety reports that The Jim Henson Co. has optioned feature film rights to SF Said’s fantasy novel, Varjak Paw. Attached to direct is Dave McKean, the book’s illustrator and director of Henson’s recent theatrical release, MirrorMask, based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Henson also has an option on Said’s literary sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw.

Winner of the 2003 Nestle Book Prize Gold Medal, Said’s Varjak Paw tells the tale of a kitten who must save his family of Mesopotamian Blue cats by venturing outside for the first time to seek help in driving away a strange man and his two deadly feline companions. Along the way, Varjak is visited in his dreams by fabled ancestor Jalal, who teaches him the Seven Skills of the Way of Jalal, a mystical form of martial arts.

Said is adapting his book for the screen with McKean, and both will be exec producers. Henson Co. co-CEO Lisa Henson will produce and senior VP Jason Lust will oversee development.

The Jim Henson Co. is currently at work on The Power of the Dark Crystal, a sequel to its 1982 cult-favorite puppet feature. Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky is directing the film, and Henson will further expand the property an animated television series, a manga series from Tokyo Pop and a variety of licensed products including books, apparel and collectible sculptures.