When people say that Harvey Weinstein is once again working with Disney, that’s true on a technical level, but the people he’ll deal with as he makes “Artemis Fowl’ with the studio are not the same people who were in charge during the contentious final days of his time there during the Miramax/Disney years.
I have no particular problem with Eoin Colfer or his work. It’s fine, and if you like the conceit that 12-year-old Artemis is a criminal genius who has amassed a great and secret fortune, working right under the noses of his parents. His father is a fairly bad guy himself and his mother is working to make the whole family stay on the straight and narrow. It’s part of that huge surge of young adult fiction that appeared on the heels of Harry Potter, and it has enough of its own voice that I don’t hate the idea of seeing movies… I’m just not convinced there’s any real reason beyond demographic market research.
The press release that came out today is full of sunshiney quotes from Harvey about how thrilled he is to be back in business with Disney and lots of heartfelt endorsements from Alan Horn about how much fun he had with Harvey when he was at Warner Bros., and it all sounds like champagne and lollipops, and it all reads like carefully prepared statements to me. Fine. You guys see some money to be made here, and Harvey’s had these rights tied up for a while now and why not?
Michael Goldenberg is onboard to write the script, and he’s certainly a talented name to throw at things. Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal will executive produce since they were the ones who first brought the book to Harvey all those years ago. Sean Bailey and Alan Horn both say glowing things about what a superb project this is and how great Harvey is and okay already we get it.
With 21 million copies of the “Fowl” books in print, it seems like a safe bet, but for every “Harry Potter,” there are a half dozen “Eragon”s or “City Of Ember”s or “The Dark Is Rising”s out there. These are not easy films to execute properly. These are not automatic money in the bank. Do it wrong, you’ve got “The Golden Compass.”
We’ll see which way this goes if they ever actually get this one off the ground.