Earlier this week, a short teaser trailer for Frozen, the animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” was released.
And more fairy tales are being adapted for updated, live-action featured films, despite the massive failure of Jack the Giant Slayer earlier this year, which cost a whopping $200 million to make but grossed much less at the box office. In comparison, films like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and Snow White and the Huntsman have been mildly more successful.
Here a couple fairy tale films and shows that are in the works right now:
Angelina Jolie will star as the wicked, horned fairy antagonist from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
The Jolie version (estimated at a $200 million budget) will portray Maleficent in a more sympathetic light, which comes as no surprise given that the film is centered on Maleficent’s transformation from good to evil. Princess Aurora, whom Maleficent curses into falling into a deep sleep, will be played by Elle Fanning and a younger version of Maleficent will be played by India Eisley.
In the film, Maleficent reportedly gets her heart broken by Aurora’s father, King Stefan (Sharlto Copley), “the half-human and half-fairy bastard son of the human king.” Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple will play fairies and Aurora’s caretakers Knotgrass, Flittle, and Thistletwit (who appear to be the equivalent of Merryweather, Flora, and Fauna from the Disney version).
Antagonists include Maleficent’s aunt Queen Ulla (Miranda Richardson) who dislikes her niece and the human king (Kenneth Cranham) who is plotting to conquer the fairy kingdom.
Tim Burton was attached to direct the film for a while, but (thankfully) he left the project and was replaced by Richard Stomberg.
Maleficent will be released July 2, 2014.
Yesterday, it was reported that Helena Bonham Carter was cast as Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the new live-action adaptation of the fairy tale. Other cast members include Downton Abbey‘s Lily James as the eponymous Cinderella (Emma Watson was initially approached for the role but she declined), Cate Blanchett as her evil stepmother Lady Tremaine, Sophie McShera and The Borgias‘ Holliday Grainger as her two evil stepsisters, and Richard Madden as her prince charming. Kenneth Branagh will direct.
The film will reveal more of Cinderella’s backstory, but doesn’t seem to stray too far from the original premise. In the Disney version, Cinderella is mistreated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters until she meets her fairy godmother who uses magic to allow Cinderella to attend the prince’s ball. There, Prince Charming falls in love with the beautiful Cinderella. She is forced to return home at the stroke of midnight, leaving behind a single glass slipper, which the prince then uses to track her down.
Previous live-action adaptations include Ever After (starring Drew Barrymore as a much more resourceful and strong-willed version of Cinderella named Danielle de Barbara), A Cinderella Story (set in modern-day and starring Hillary Duff), and the 1997 musical Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, Bernadette Peters, and Whoopi Goldberg).
Into The Woods (2014)
Reports surfaced earlier this year that the Tony award-winning Broadway musical Into The Woods is getting turned into a featured film. Written by James Lapine, Into The Woods brings together various fairy tale characters. Meryl Streep will play The Witch, a role originated by Bernadette Peters, and Johnny Depp is confirmed to play The Wolf. The Baker and The Baker’s Wife, a couple struggling to conceive a child who end up striking a deal with The Witch, will be played by James Corden and Emily Blunt. The role of Rapunzel’s Prince and Cinderella’s Prince was given to Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal.
La belle et la bête (2014)
French director Jean Cocteau’s 1946 adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” is probably might be the best adaptation of the fairy tale. Another live-action adaptation of the fairy tale, directed by Christopher Gans, is set to be released next year in France. Lea Seydoux (who earned praise this year for her performance in the Palme d’Or-winning film Blue is the Warmest Color) and Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Eastern Promises, La Haine) will play the romantic couple.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio
The visionary director who made Pan’s Labyrinth will begin shooting his version of “Beauty and the Beast” this summer. Emma Watson confirmed her involvement in the film at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. She will be playing the role of Beauty, while the role of the Beast has yet been revealed.
Del Toro is also working on a stop-motion animation version of “Pinocchio.” Earlier this year, Gris Grimly confirmed that the project was still moving forward and attracting interest from studios.
(Meanwhile, Del Toro is also working on a Pilot of his novel The Strain for FX.)
Chuck Russell’s Arabian Nights
The new film adaptation of Arabian Nights, starring Liam Hemsworth as Ali Baba (can’t say I approve), will be going forward as a China-U.S. production. The original film synopsis says it will be a “a visually stunning 3D retelling of the classic adventure tale about a bold, young commander who joins forces with Sinbad, Aladdin and his Genie to rescue Scheherazade and save her kingdom from the dark powers of an immortal sorcerer.”
Anthony Hopkins is also on board. With backing from Chinese production companies, the film will reportedly have a budget of $70 million.
Joe Wright’s The Little Mermaid
The Atonement director is working on a film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” Kelly Marcel, the screenwriter who was hired to adapt the book “50 Shades of Grey” and whose credits include the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks, is in talks to pen the script.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (2013)
Despite the waning success of Once Upon A Time, which is going into its third season, ABC went ahead with picking up a spin-off series entitled Once Upon A Time in Wonderland. You can watch the trailer here.
The series is a re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” books, with British-born Australian actress Sophie Lowe in the role of Alice. Characters from the books that will appear in the television series include The Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), The Red Queen (Emma Rigby), and a CGI version of The White Rabbit (voiced by John Lithgow). The 22-episode series will center on Alice’s journey to rescue her lover, Cyrus, a genie.
Sebastian Stan’s Mad Hatter and Barbara Hershey’s Queen of Hearts characters from the original Once Upon A Time might appear in the spin-off series, as well. The roles have yet to be recast.
- Once Upon A Time: The Complete Second Season
- Ever After: A Cinderella Story
- “The Arabian Nights” by Richard Burton
- Sleeping Beauty (Two-Disc Platinum Edition)
- Into the Woods (1991) [DVD]
- Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and The Beast (The Criterion Collection)
What fairy tale adaptation are you looking forward to the most?