Culture

Could Oscar Pill Be the Next Harry Potter? Peut-etre

As the July 15 release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" draws closer, the funeral dirge has grown louder and a preemptive state of mourning has set in among the franchise's legions of fans. However, nobody will be more sad to see HP 7.5 come and go than the bespectacled magician's Hollywood foster parents, who have already begun mourning the loss of the magic money-making machine that's been spewing galleons and keeping the movie business in the black since the release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" a decade ago.

The one proven way to take the edge off that grief is to find someone else. And today, Harry Potter producer, David Heyman, seems to have found his rebound literary boy wonder in Oscar Pill, the title character in the trilogy of French fantasy novels about a thirteen-year-old everyboy who discovers he's a member of a secret order of beings imbued with the power to inhabit other people's bodies. Today Heyman and Warner Bros. picked up the rights to the series, which bears more than a passing resemblance to "The Boy Who Lived." Young Oscar is a tween outcast, whose nebishy red hair (much like Harry's spectacles) is his defining characteristic and a constant visual cue that this is not a kid who might have ordinarily gravitated to the hero booth on Career Day. Like Harry, Oscar lost a beloved parent, his father, who was a powerful force for good in the otherworldly order that has called upon Oscar to solve the mystery of his dad's death and defeat the forces of darkness known as Pathologus. Of course, where would wee Oscar be without a posse of Potter-like pals -- Valentine and Lawrence -- to help him navigate through the dark and labyrinthine recesses of the human body to root out evil?

By placing his chips on Oscar Pill, a series relatively unknown to readers outside France, Heyman has added a surprise twist in the high-stakes race to find Harry Potter's heir apparent. For the past year or so, Hollywood has been aswirl with the names of young-adult fantasy franchises. Somehow, Pill was nowhere near that list. Prior to today, the  literary sagas most frequently mentioned as potential Potter replacements included: Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer's adventure tale involving some very bad-ass fairies; Cherub, a spy series populated with underage agents by Robert Muchamore; Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series about a race of teen demon-hunters; the supernatural futuristic prison Incarceron series by Catherine Fisher; Phillip Reeve's post-apocalyptic Mortal Engines Quartet; Pamela Sargent's Seed Trilogy about a generation of test tube kids who have come of age in space on a ship sent to colonize a new planet; and The Wardstone Chronicles about the spooky creatures who inhabit the dark and the kids who see them. Hovering high above all these contenders for young adult phenom of the next decade is The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' chronicle of young revolutionaries who emerge out of a gruesome teen death-match.

Then again, wasn't Percy Jackson and the Olympians supposed to explode into the pop culture stratosphere? Ditto Inkheart and City of Ember. So even the biggest literary hits don't guarantee a cinematic bonanza. And it's also important to remember that nobody knew a thing about Harry Potter when Warner Bros first scooped up the rights to Sorcerer's Stone in galley form, before it had hit bookshelves. It's still too early to tell whether Oscar Pill will become the panacea for Hollywood's financial woes. But it's as good a bet as any, considering Heyman's near-perfect track record in finding the writers and directors with the iconoclastic spark to ensure a book's subversive magic isn't lost in adaptation.

  • Sandroo

    No offense, but The Mortal Instruments, Inkheart, Incarceron, City of Ember,and the Percy Jackson series (both of 'em) have hit the young adult literary circuit pretty hard. All of these serials are pretty popular. It's just the way that Inkheart, and Percy Jackson have been translated on film that have sucked the life out of the explosion that should have been their due right.

    In short - the books are awesome. The movies??? Not so much.

    • margie

      Absolutely true!

  • Kris

    Im sorry but I love Percy Jackson waaaay more than Harry stickin Potter. Percy is more of a real kid who has some real problems like ADHD, dsylexia (sp?) and he is going through the same teen problems as harry did on top of that not to mention more people want him dead than Harry. They didnt do a very good job translating him to the big screen and I hope they do better with the second one. I can't wait to see it and Im 22. I've read both series and Percy Jackson is by far way better than harry potter cant wait for the next book out this fall :)

  • Pockets

    It is truly time to bury the whole Harry Potter thing. The next book she will write will be Harry Potter and his Social Security Card. Give it all a break and get a life

    • Carina

      Isn't it funny how everyone compares new books to Harry Potter? Twilight, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments, even a book called Tunnels that never really gained a following... None of them have been as successful as Harry Potter.
      I'm sorry, but nothing is ever going to replace Harry Potter. It's become a classic, quite honestly, and the way it's brought people together and the way that people have grown up with the series (myself included) is something that I don't think any book has been able to do before like Harry has.
      I think that it will stand the test of time, and I'm unbelievably devastated that it's ending in July.

    • rft4000

      umm... there won't be a next harry potter book. so the break has been given.

  • Pingback: Books for Film Lovers: Curing the Harry Potter Hangover « Suvudu - Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, Movies, Comics, and Games()

  • qwert

    Unfortunately the new crop of fantasy novels are just tiring... they dont spark the imagination enough for the effort it will take to translate them well on to the big screen...Percy Jackson and the whole lot of em....
    That being said, I think the industry should turn to the classics of fantasy like the Wheel of Time series... O.o
    Now THAT would be epic.

  • tdr920

    Lets face it, if there was no Harry Potter, none of the other series would exist, or woudn't get to the 2nd book. HP made it "cool" to read again.

  • halestorm

    Hollywood suits don't read fantasy, and it can't be explained to them in words they understand. So even a great fantasy book or series is going to be focus grouped into a coming of age story about a skateboarding dude and his flatulent, talking dog. If I had magical powers some very bad mojo would be visiting whoever made the
    Dark is Rising movie. Just for instance. Where the HP movies differ is the Rowling somehow kept an unusual level of control.

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