Literary Thriller ‘Sixteen Horses’ Scores TV Adaptation From Gaumont U.K. (EXCLUSIVE)

Gaumont U.K. has swooped on rights for Greg Buchanan’s debut literary thriller “Sixteen Horses” after a bidding war, and will develop the novel as a drama series.

The studio pursued the book for two years after being snared by the first chapter in 2018. “Sixteen Horses” is published by Mantle Books/Pan Macmillan and set for release in the U.K. on April 29 and July 20 in the U.S. via Flatiron Books. It is already generating buzz, having been picked as one of the literary titles to be covered in BBC Two’s next series of “Between The Covers.”

“Sixteen Horses” is set in a small British seaside community the rest of the world has left behind. Following the discovery of sixteen horses’ heads on a farm, each buried with a single eye facing the low winter sun, the local police detective and forensic veterinarian soon uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in the community all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself. The two investigators race to uncover the truth behind the mysteries.

The drama development is led by executive producer and Gaumont U.K. CEO Alison Jackson (“Tin Star,” “Ashes to Ashes”) and Gaumont U.K.’s senior development executive Jamie Jackson.

Buchanan said: “So many of my influences in writing ‘Sixteen Horses’ were from television and cinema — ‘Don’t Look Now,’ ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock,’ ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘True Detective’ — that I’m fascinated to see how the novel’s dark, existential atmosphere translates back on to screen. I am thrilled to be working with the team at Gaumont U.K. Of all the studios we spoke with, their vision was closest to what I’d imagined, and I can’t wait for audiences to see the results of our collaboration.”

Jackson said: “’Sixteen Horses’ is an utterly fascinating story, wonderfully written by Greg in a cinematic way that we believe will translate beautifully to the screen, and appeal to audiences both in the U.K. and globally. Gaumont U.K. is passionate about developing stories from a uniquely British perspective and discovering new voices, of which we have both in ‘Sixteen Horses.’”

The deal to bring “Sixteen Horses” to the screen was negotiated by Michelle Kroes on behalf of CAA. Gaumont U.K. also recently acquired the rights to “Dressed For War: The Story of Audrey Withers,” Vogue’s editor from the Blitz to the Swinging Sixties.

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