THE STORY: "45" By Andi Ewington and 45 artists
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Journalist James Stanley lives in a world populated by genetically gifted superhumans and his unborn child may be next in line to join them. Before that possibility can be realized, however, Stanley sets off to interview 45 superpowered individuals to form a clearer picture of what his family could experience if his child is born with the ability-granting Super-S gene.
Along the way, he uncovers a secret organization called XoDOS with its own agenda for the interviewees, which could spell trouble for every person on the planet.
WHY IT WORKS: "45" introduces readers to a world of characters through a fresh set of eyes. Stanley observes a society at a tipping point and ponders what kind of father he should be in response, pushing human drama to the forefront of a super hero universe.
Not quite a surrogate character, Stanley nonetheless takes a look at his superpowered planet with a unique perspective and his interviewing platform affords filmmakers a potent opportunity to layer conversations in progress, flashbacks and other sequences in a fashion few mainstream films have attempted.
WHY IT DOESN'T: Given that "45" is a self-contained story meant to be enjoyed as a whole, including 45 individual interviews in a two-hour film isn't quite feasible. There's also the matter of the book's 45 distinct art styles — one for each interview. That issue can be surmounted, as Quentin Tarantino proved by blending genres in "Kill Bill" volumes one and two, but producers will have to find ways to vary their presentation without losing scope of an identifiable look for the overall story.
HOW TO DO IT: Run "45" as a thriller television series spanning one full season. Include as many interviews as possible by tying standalone episodes together with the central XoDOS plot. Keep James Stanley British, but cast a believable leading man who wouldn't distract new viewers with a questionable accent — or an off-camera reputation that'd compromise playing a well-intentioned young father.
Most importantly, cast the rotating interviewees "Law and Order" style, with plenty of celebrity and character actor cameos for the sake of promoting each episode.
CLOSING ARGUMENT: Featuring an expansive world, a clear storyline and a sympathetic main character, "45" puts a fresh spin on the concept of a super hero drama. By taking a closer look at the people behind the powers, Ewington and his lineup of artists have told a story ripe for the televised picking.
Do you think "45" would translate well into a film? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!