Eoin Colfer’s irreverent, genre-blending fantasy/crime novel, Highfire, is getting adapted by Amazon as a live-action/animated hybrid television series. Intriguingly, the project will have the services of Nicolas Cage, who’s on tap to provide the voice role of the eponymous character, who happens to be a dragon, one who lives in Louisiana, spending his days sipping vodka.
Highfire, a project residing at MGM/UA Television, has been put into development by Amazon, according to Deadline. The would-be series will operate under the creative purview of showrunner Davey Holmes, creator of Epix’s Get Shorty adaptation series, along with producer runs on shows such as Showtime’s Shameless, Fox’s Chicago Code and cult-adored ABC Bryan Fuller series Pushing Daisies. Voiceover star Cage will serve as an executive producer alongside Holmes, joined in that capacity by Andrew Mittman of 1.21, via an existing MGM/UA deal.
The plot of Colfer’s January 2020-released Highfire adult thriller novel centers on the eponymous dragon, Lord Highfire (Cage’s would-be role), who is far removed from his days as the fire-breathing scourge of the eyrie that bore his name. Indeed, now going by “Vern,” the wayward wyvern spends his days in his Louisiana swamp home, catering to an insatiable taste for vodka, smoking cigarettes lit by his own breath and expressing a perpetual appreciation for legwarmer-promoting 1983 movie Flashdance by frequently wearing a t-shirt that bears its logo. However, this existence becomes disrupted when he crosses paths with Cajun teen Everett “Squib” Moreau, who, working for a shady smuggler, witnessed his boss being murdered by a crooked cop. Consequently, Vern and Squib strike up a friendship amidst a crime-solving adventure motivated by mutual survival.
Amazon’s Highfire development marks another recent prominent streaming feather in the cap of author Eoin Colfer after his fantasy novel, Artemis Fowl, was adapted by director Kenneth Branagh as a big-screen-aimed Disney film that—due to the pandemic—ultimately premiered this past June as a streaming offering on Disney+. While there’s currently no indication that Colfer will have any direct involvement with the Amazon small screen adaptation, such a notion wouldn’t be unprecedented. While he wasn’t involved with Artemis Fowl, he does possess a single credit as a television writer for 2009 comedic crime series Half Moon Investigations, and also co-wrote the screenplay for 2014 dramedy Poison Pen.
Of course, the small screen project is yet another example of star Nicolas Cage’s current cult-level ubiquity. Indeed, the former Leaving Las Vegas Best Actor Oscar winner may be known as the notoriously-broke subject of crazed-eyed meme images these days, but he’s putting in a lot of notable work. Besides headlining an immense array of modern schlock, and voicing Spider-Man Noir in animated smash Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, he recently starred in the directorial comeback of the embattled Richard Stanley in H.P. Lovecraft-adapting sci-fi horror film Color Out of Space, and notably turned heads with a crimson-soaked wanton rampage of vengeance in his starring role in 2018 film Mandy. Plus, he was recently cast to play Tiger King subject Joe Exotic in a dramatized miniseries, and will play himself, opposite The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal, in the fourth-wall-scraping thriller, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Highfire has yet to reveal a production or release window, but the wacky, trope-blending premise alone makes it sound like something worth the wait.