Jane Goldman and Tim Burton team for ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’

I have had a weird week.  It’s been really hard getting anything done because I feel like the whole day is taken up with the end of school for the year for the boys, or dealing with holiday stuff in general, or seeing about 800 movies at the last minute to make sure I feel like I’ve got my bases covered before I record my voice-over for this year’s “10 Best Of The Year” video.

But while I’m here tonight, I’d like to catch up on a few stories that I think are worthwhile or exciting or reasons for optimism.  I want to feel good about some movie news for a little while.  And what better to kick that off with than news about Jane Goldman?

It still seems hard to believe that not everyone understands yet that Jane Goldman is awesome, since it’s a scientifically established fact.  I’ve spent enough time with her and with her primary creative partner so far in movies, Matthew Vaughn, that I have a fair sense of their chemistry, and I feel confident in saying that Jane is a force to be reckoned with.  Whip-smart, with a voracious appetite for genre, she’s got a natural deconstructionist’s mind, but tempered with a real love of the flawed humanity of her characters.

In particular, I think she’s got a great handle on archetype, and I think she’s got the sort of imagination that directors love in a collaborator, able to reinvent on the fly.  She has been actively engaged on a daily basis on the films she’s written that I’ve visited, and she’s also able to work fast under a real production deadline, something that not every smart writer is able to do well.

She deserves to be this kind of busy, and now it looks like 20th Century Fox has got Goldman fever.  They’re working towards a sequel to “X-Men: First Class” with Goldman once again working with Matthew Vaughn, and now they are reportedly working with her on “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” which Tim Burton might direct.

The book sounds like a perfect fit for Goldman, the story of a boy who tells stories that his grandfather told him about an orphanage filled kids with all sorts of freaky afflictions and abilities.  Like “Hugo,” this is a quest film set off by a message left behind the grandfather dies, and there are characters that sound like they could be in the “First Class” sequel.  I imagine one of the key differences between the way “First Class” and “Peculiar Children” handles its stranger characters will be because Burton’s visual signature is so particular that there’s little chance we’re going to mistake it for a Marvel superhero movie.

In the meantime, as both of these films work their way towards production, Goldman’s name will next be seen onscreen as the writer of “The Woman In Black” with Daniel Radcliffe.  You know… this one…

This really is great news, and I’m glad to hear it. 

“The Woman In Black” will be in theaters.