Netflix is adapting George R.R. Martin's 1979 novelette Sandkings into a feature film. Acclaimed director Gore Verbinski revealed the news in a new interview with Collider, published on Tuesday. He will be directing the adaptation while Utopia creator Dennis Kelly will write the script.
Sandkings is a 23-page story by Martin, published originally in the sci-fi/fantasy magazine Omni long before he ever conceived of A Game of Thrones. It centers around a wealthy and charismatic man living on another planet, who has a fascination with exotic animals. The story won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for best novelette after its publication, and now fans will see it brought to life on screen.
Verbinski — best-known to most for directing Pirates of the Caribbean — revealed the news casually in his new interview. Asked what he is working on these days, he said: "one of the screenplays is based on a George R.R. Martin short story called Sandkings, which is this brilliant little twisted short story that I love. And I'm working with a great writer, Dennis Kelly, who wrote the original [Utopia]... The British original series is brilliant. And Dennis is doing the adaptation, so I'm kind of excited about that."
Verbinski said little more about the project, but reporters later learned that producer John Baldecchi is involved as well. So far, neither Netflix nor Martin has offered any additional comments on the project. However, Game of Thrones fans are already clamoring for the movie.
While Martin is best-known for the A Song of Ice and Fire series today, Sandkings was instrumental in building his career early on. It is one of the most popular works in his "Thousand Worlds" fictional universe, along with his novella Nightflyers, which was adapted into a series by Syfy.
Sandkings itself has already been adapted before. In the late 1980s DC Comics adapted it as part of a series of science fiction graphic novel adaptations. In 1995, it was adapted into a made-for-TV movie on Showtime and Syfy. Sadly, that version is not streaming at the time of this writing.
It is not clear how long fans will have to wait for Netflix's version of the novelette, but judging by Verbinski's enthusiasm, the work is underway. In the meantime, Sandkings is collected in Martin's book Dreamsongs: Volume I, which is available now in both print and digital formats. Martin himself is still working on his next book The Winds of Winter.