Top of the Lake producer See-Saw Films is to develop a television adaptation of YA graphic novel Heartstopper after optioning the rights.
The company, which recently made Nick Hornby’s short-form Sundance series State of the Union and was also behind The King’s Speech, struck a deal to adapt the Alice Oseman-penned comics with Emily Hayward Whitlock at The Artists Partnership in association with Claire Wilson at RCW.
Heartstopper tells the story of Nick and Charlie, two British teens at an all-boys grammar school. Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, who one day are made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised. Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger.
Oseman, who previously published YA novels including Solitaire, Radio Silence and I Was Born For This!, initially self-published the novels after securing funding via Kickstarter. The books, which are part of a series of four novels, were subsequently published by Hachette Children’s Group earlier this year.
The deal was shepherded at See-Saw by Patrick Walters, the company’s head of television development.
Oseman said that Walters, in particular, had an “enthusiasm, love and understanding” of the series and is the reasons she feels confident. “This doesn’t mean something will definitely be made. There are sooo many obstacles to get through yet!! But what I can say is that I am working very closely with a small, incredibly passionate group of individuals at SeeSaw who all care so deeply about Heartstopper,” she tweeted. “This is truly the dream scenario for me and I hope you’re as excited as I am.”
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