Neil Gaiman On Adapting Charles Burns’ Graphic Novel ‘Black Hole’

Neil Gaiman doesn’t just adapt his own work — he’s just as ready and willing to take on someone else’s comic or graphic novel and adapt it for the big screen.

For the past two years, Gaiman and Roger Avary (also known as the “Beowulf” writing team ) had been working to adapt Charles Burns’ acclaimed graphic novel “Black Hole” — you know, the twelve-issue series where high school kids in the ’70s get a sexually transmitted disease called “teen plague,” which at first, has no known cause. Some only got a rash. Others became monsters and grew new body parts, like a tail or an extra mouth or webbing. It’s like a mini-AIDS, with all the sexual-social outsider issues that entails but way more mutations.

Splat Packer Alexandre Aja (“The Hills Have Eyes,” “Mirrors”) was originally going to direct, but then David Fincher came aboard. Good for name recognition at the box office, not always so good for the writers working under him. “Once they got David Fincher on,” Gaiman said, “David explained his process consisted of having over ten drafts, done over and over, and Roger and I were sort of asked if we wanted to, if we were interested in doing that. And we definitely weren’t.”

So Gaiman and Avary “sort of stood aside,” he said. Fincher still has their last draft of the script, and he can work with it from there, but Gaiman doesn’t know the status of the project any further than that.

“So we’ll wait and see what happens,” he said. “I just hope whatever happens, it’s faithful to ’Black Hole.'”

Do you think Gaiman and Avary should have stepped aside? Who would you want to see play Keith, Chris, Rob, Eliza, Dave, Dee, Jill, and the rest of the teens?