On Monday, when I wrote about Disney’s decision to develop a film called “Cruella,” I talked about how they seem to be making a new push to turn all of their fairy-tale animated films into live-action movies. “Maleficent” and “Cinderella” both seem to be fairly straight takes on the characters and the fairy-tale worlds where they take place.
One of their biggest recent live-action releases was “Enchanted,” a post-modern take on the world of their fairy tale stories, and one could argue that “Tangled” also played with the tropes of those films in some very knowing ways. It’s interesting that Disney is willing to make movies where they play it straight and movies where they intentionally subvert the genre as well.
A good example would be “Happily Ever After,” a project that Nahnatchka Khan pitched to the studio. She’s the creator of “Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23,” and I’m guessing her sardonic sense of humor is going to be a major part of what sets this aside from the other fairy tale films that the studio’s making.
The premise, according to “The Hollywood Reporter”‘s Borys Kit, concerns a fairy tale prince and princess who are struggling to hold their marriage together a full decade after they had their “happily ever after.” It sounds like the exact right sort of project for Witherspoon, especially now. Her early hits were all predicated on the “America’s Sweetheart” image that she cultivated with films like “Legally Blonde” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” but I’ve always been more interested in her Tracy Flick side. Playing a fairy-tale princess grappling with the painful realities of marriage sounds like it’ll play into both sides of her on-screen persona, a smart choice after her tabloid troubles this year. She seems to be steering directly into it instead of trying to pretend none of it happened, which is the quickest way to put something like this behind you.
If this is just a pitch at this point, then we’re probably a long way from actually seeing the film in theaters. Let’s see how it comes together.