Evidently, fairy tales are what you want right now, even if you don’t know it yet.
Hollywood has decided, and you have no choice in the matter. You are going to be into fairy tales in the next few years, and you’d better love it, because there’s more coming. However much you think there is, there’s actually more.
I’m curious to see if there is really an appetite for this stuff, or if Hollywood’s going to get halfway into this avalanche of titles and realize they dove off a cliff with no parachute. I get one part of the motivation here… you’re dealing with stories that are public domain, so you get name recognition without having to pay anyone for the underlying rights. But this material is fairly unproven as a big-screen lure, and it seems risky to me to just go all in the way the studios are at the moment.
This past weekend, “Beastly” finally opened, a “Twilight”-inspired riff on the “Beauty and the Beast” story with Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer, and this coming weekend, “Red Riding Hood” starring Amanda Seyfried will open, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who, of course, directed the first “Twilight” movie.
The battle of the “Snow White” movies is, frankly, ridiculous. Relativity is making a Tarsem Singh version called “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White,” with Julia Roberts playing the evil Queen, while Charlize Theron will play the role for “Snow White and the Huntsmen,” with Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Viggo Mortensen as, presumably, the Huntsman, with Rupert Sanders directing for Universal. Disney’s had a long in-development version called “Snow and the Seven” about Shaolin kung-fu monks, but that does not appear to be any closer to actually shooting at this point, even with Michael Arndt onboard as a screenwriter. Francis Lawrence and Natalie Portman have been attached at various points, but I’m not sure I see this one getting made after two other versions of the same basic material.
We’ve got Bryan Singer working on “Jack The Giant Killer,” we’ve got the preposterously titled “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” we’ve got another Guillermo Del Toro project in the form of a 3D “Pinocchio,” and we’ve got at least three different fairy tale related TV shows, including “Once Upon A Time,’ “17th District,” and “Grimm,” Of the three, Ron Moore’s “17th District” is the one that is only sort of related, while “Grimm” is a cop drama set in a world where Grimm Fairy Tale characters exist, created by David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, who both worked together on “Angel.” Gennifer Goodwin just signed to star in “Once Upon A Time,” which is from Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, the guys who wrote “TRON: Legacy,” and who worked on “Lost.” It’s funny… one of the best treatments so far of fairy tale tropes in any medium is the amazing Bill Willingham comic Fables, and despite an announcement a while ago, in the midst of all of this, “Fables” is nowhere to be found as a TV show, since I guess that died at the pilot script stage. Very odd.
I’m exhausted just trying to keep all of this stuff straight, and I haven’t seen any of it yet. How about you? Are you looking forward to this? Are you dreading it? Does it interest you at all?
Is it really a trend if no one’s asking for it?
In the case of “Pan,” which Billy Ray wrote based on an original idea by Channing Tatum and his producing partners, this is also part of the trend of overexplaining everything by giving “Peter Pan” a prequel story in which Hook and Pan were brothers.
Because we’ve all learned by now that the best thing you can do as a storyteller is to make sure you fill in all the backstory and leave no room for imagination or speculation at all. Absolutely.
UPDATE: Someone named in this article took offense to a comment made, and the article has been adjusted so as to avoid any misinterpretation of intent.