Neil Gaiman to write <i>Journey to the West</i> movies

Neil Gaiman's got his eyes set on China.

Late last month Gaiman posted an ominous piece on his blog noting that he would be off the radar for three weeks while traveling to China as part of a project he's been working on. Well now the word is out, and the word -- or words -- are Journey to the West.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Gaiman had been hired to write a screenplay adaptation for the classic Chinese novel for a series of big-budget 3D movies. He and producer Zhang Jizhong (Romance of the 3 Kingdoms, The Water Margin) are eyeing the template created by Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings, with Gaiman quoted as saying "We have to make it filmic, non-episodic. This story is in the DNA of 1.5 billion people."

This isn't Gaiman's first dalliance with China -- it's become a major focus of the writer for the past few years. This is Gaiman's third trip to China for this project, and he's been quoted as saying he's also writing a non-fiction book about his China as well. Although it's not comics, Neil Gaiman easily gets a pass because he's a comics alum and his work appeals to a large segment of the comic audience. Plus, Journey into the West has been fodder for numerous manga over the years.

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