If I were going to pitch Susan Cooper's kid-lit fantasy series, The Dark is Rising, to a room full of studio execs, I'd proceed as follows: "Listen, guys. I'm not gonna lie. This is gonna be a real challenge. These books are not only noticeably dated from a sci-fi/fantasy fan's perspective, but also remarkably insular and plotty, and not even the good kind of plotty. They aren't 'every chapter is a new adventure' plotty, but more like a catalog of meaningless busywork-tasks the hero has to perform. The books remind me of a third-rate Atari 2600 game, in which the hero has some Arthurian pedigree that's spelled out in the booklet, but on-screen he's just a bland avatar who has to collect six out of nine sacred talismans and place them in the right spots on the map, in order to thwart the 'forces of darkness.' That's all this series amounts to, but I wouldn't be pitching this to you if I didn't see some ways we can get around that stuff. So allow me to proceed.

We're going to adapt the second book in the series, for two reasons: first, because it's called The Dark is Rising, which will make a cool title, but also because it contains an intriguing substrata. The main character, Will Stanton, is a 14 year-old wizard who is struggling with puberty just as he's discovering his wizarding ways. The bad guys know this, so they send a witch to tempt him, in the form of a hot, older girl. In the book, this is hardly more than a footnote and most of the plot is given over to the young wizard learning his craft from an old wizard, but that's just bo-ring. We're going to downsize that angle considerably and make the witch subplot the A-story. I'm envisioning a tragic first-love saga between this kid who doesn't know any better, and this more experienced girl who is allied with the forces of evil, but isn't totally evil to the core. There's a sort of Anakin Skywalker quality to her, which a good script will heighten. With me so far? Good.