Guy Pearce, Christoph Waltz and Patrick Gibson are set to star in The Portable Door, a fantasy adventure comedy to be directed by Jeffrey Walker.
Leon Ford’s screenplay is adapted from English author Tom Holt’s six-book series which follows a university drop-out who discovers his new employer is a front for a sinister organisation.
Story Bridge Films’ Todd Fellman and the Jim Henson Company’s Lisa Henson and Blanca Lista will produce the film, which Arclight Films’ Gary Hamilton will pitch to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin.
The plan is to start shooting in the fourth quarter of this year, either in Australia or Eastern Europe, with post here. Arclight has international sales rights excluding Oz, which is retained by the producers
The project has been a labour of love for Fellman (whose producing credits include Jungle, Bait and EP of Escape to Pretoria) and Lista, who in 2013 revealed they intended to shoot the film in Queensland.
“I met Lisa Henson and Blanca Lista about six years ago via an Ausfilm introduction,” Fellman tells IF. “They were in early discussions with Leon Ford about adapting Tom Holt’s book and interested in developing the project as an Australian production. We hit it off and have been collaborating on this ever since.”
Gibson (The OA, Tolkien) will play Paul Carpenter, a new intern at the mysterious London firm J.W. Wells & Co., who becomes increasingly aware that his employers are anything but conventional.
Charismatic villain Humphrey Wells (Waltz), the company’s CEO, is disrupting the world of magic by bringing modern corporate strategy to ancient magical practices.
Dennis Tanner (Pearce) is the shape-shifting goblin trapped in the organisation’s middle management.
Fellman said: “Leon Ford has written a brilliant script that delivers a perfect balance of comedy, wit, fantasy, adventure and heart within a grand, visually stunning and timeless world.
“It’s exciting to be working with such an incredible team and to bring this story to life in way that will sit proudly alongside other classics in the Henson tradition.”
Lisa Henson added: “Once we were able to entice accomplished and versatile director Jeffrey Walker to join the project, we knew we had someone perfectly suited to pull together this unique tone and ground the film for its audience.”