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Vancouver-based Thunderbird and Australia’s Sandpiper Entertainment are developing a feature film based on Arthur Slade’s steampunk novel “The Hunchback Assignments.”

ScreenWest, the Western Australia government’s film and television agency, is funding initial script development with Thunderbird. Sandpiper’s Paul Barron is working with Thunderbird’s Alex Raffé on the project.

The working title of the film is “Modo,” taken from the principal character’s name of a hunchbacked shapeshifter at the center of the first novel and its sequels.

Modo is rescued as a child in a traveling freak show and raised in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself and, with another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockwork Guild behind the murders of important men.

“Arthur Slade has created a unique world, an action-filled steampunk adventure with compelling young adult characters that will resonate with audiences worldwide,” Raffe said.
 
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