Something peculiar this way comes. The big-screen adaptation of Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk, 2011) arrives in theatres on September 30. Riggs’s fantastical novel follows a 16-year-old protagonist as he discovers an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island, where his grandfather once lived. There, he meets the island’s peculiar inhabitants – children with extraordinary capabilities who may or may not still be alive. The film, from 20th Century Fox, is directed by Tim Burton, and stars Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, and Samuel L. Jackson; Jane Goldman wrote the screenplay.
Riggs followed up the first book with the sequels Hollow City in 2014 and Library of Souls in 2015. Across the series, six million copies have sold worldwide. And there is more to come: a movie tie-in paperback edition of the first book arrives on August 2; on August 30, Quirk will publish a collector’s volume, The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which features photos from the movie set, including those of Riggs with cast members; and Miss Peregrine’s Journal for Peculiar Children, a writing journal containing quotes and photographs from the books.
And Riggs has a brand-new Miss Peregrine book on the horizon as well, this time with Dutton. The author signed a two-book deal with the publisher in 2015, and is working with editor Julie Strauss-Gabel, who also edits John Green’s work. Tales of the Peculiar, which releases on September 3, is a collection of stories that expands upon the mythology of the Miss Peregrine world and includes original woodcut engravings from artist Andrew Davidson. The second book in the deal with Dutton has not yet been revealed but will be a YA novel not connected to the previous titles.
Putting ‘Peculiar’ on Screen
Translating the words of an author into a visual language always comes with its set of challenges. Yet Riggs’s novel already has a strong visual aspect and the author has a background in film himself. Riggs attended film school at USC and is an avid photographer and collector of vintage images. In fact, he had initially planned the book to be a series of narrative poems accompanied by a selection of the vintage photographs that he collects. Riggs didn’t have a great deal of input during the planning stages of the film, but he visited the set and has seen rough cuts of the final product – and says he wholeheartedly approves. He is actively taking part in social media promotions spearheaded by Quirk and Dutton and appeared in conversation with John Green – who is a longtime friend of Riggs – at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., on June 23. With the second trailer for the movie released earlier in the week, Paul Crichton of Quirk reports “an incredible pop in sales” for the series.
Penguin and Quirk will also be collaborating on a September 3 “Loop Day” publicity campaign, with events to be held in conjunction with bookstores nationwide. For those unfamiliar with Loop Day: Miss Peregrine and the peculiar children are stuck in a time loop, reliving September 3, 1940 over and over again, allowing them to avoid the bombing of the island by German forces on September 4. On Quirk’s web site Riggs himself offers ideas for properly celebrating.
Riggs told PW about what it was like to see his first novel made into a movie and to have Burton, whose sensibility tends toward the colorfully macabre, at the helm. “I could not have gotten luckier with this adaptation,” Riggs said. “The book is both light and dark, scary and sweet, and getting that tone just right is a trick I think only Tim Burton and Jane Goldman could have pulled off. They captured the spirit and meaning of the book brilliantly, and the changes they made serve only to make the story more cinematic.”
Riggs discussed how Burton inventively integrated the photographs into the movie: “The photos do play an important role in the film, and the way Tim incorporated them was brilliant. They did a marvelous job.”