Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Disney Plans On Taking Prince Charming To the Movies

Here's a headline that says a lot:
A fairy tale archetype gets his own film as Disney plan a Prince Charming movie

My reaction: ?!!

Oh yes - and, it's staying with the current live action trend, of course.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Disney is continuing its push into live-action fairy tales, closing a deal for a feature project centering on Prince Charming. Matt Fogel wrote the script, while David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman of Mandeville Films/TV as well as Tripp Vinson are on board to produce. 
Disney pioneered the recent and lucrative trend of taking either old animated classics or fairy tales and spinning them into live-action features.And since no other studio has done more to ensconce the idea of Prince Charming into the public mind — with movies such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella — it is most appropriate the studio take a close look at the man as well. 
Details are being kept behind a moat, but the script is described as a revisionist take on the fairy tales.

I get the whole, "let's tell the antagonist's story", deal, I do. Usually that's a specific character who, while often using a recognizable archetype aspect, is generally not a flat character. In fact, it's the villain who usually does have the (hopefully second) most interesting story. (One would hope the protagonist is drawn well enough that you do care more about their story... but that's another discussion.)

However, if there's one accusation that's been leveled at (most) Disney princes (particularly the classic ones) it's this: they are made of cardboard. They are flat, dull, uninteresting, replaceable, forgettable, stand-ins to help the girls achieve their goals/dreams.

In fact I've heard it argued that princes in fairy tales - and particularly Disney ones - perhaps should be considered the prize to be won. The girl has to get so far in her story, overcoming obstacles, staying strong etc, to "activate" the prince - in whatever capacity he is needed - wherein his main function is, really, to be the girl's happily ever after pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Retelling one of these prince's stories sounds beyond yawn-worthy*, and then you read that magical little Hollywood phrase: "revisionist take", which basically means, an attempt to erase all previous notions of this idea you ever had. From that angle, I can see why they might want to flip-the-script and write a Prince who is... 'more'.

Possibly the most interesting Princes we've seen from Disney have made their way onto the screen in the last year; Richard Madden's "Kit" (I still can't get on board with that name), from Cinderella, goes against the system while working within it to achieve his goal, and the dueling duet of "Agony" by Rapunzel's and Cinderella's princes in Into the Woods remains one of the best, and funniest, live action "prince sequences" brought to the screen ever. I have to wonder if the latter isn't what spurred the sudden interest in cashing in on the (according to Tumblr) drool-worthy Agony-Prince-vibe.

I'm still not certain I'm up for a whole movie worth of it, though I'll be very interested to see the discussions coming out of this marketing, er, story. Crown prince versus "real" prince (whether or not there's a princess involved) is something it wouldn't hurt our society to consider a little more.

So you ready for the Disney-live-action line-up tally to date?

  • Jungle Book
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Dumbo
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Pete's Dragon
  • Mulan
  • Pinocchio
  • Alice: Through the Looking Glass
  • Tink (a Peter Pan spin-off)
  • Unnamed Prince Charming movie

Yep, we're set for live action Disney - some of them fairy tales (or Disney's version of a fairy tale) - through till 2018 at least.

Animation movies are still in development and production too, don't forget (Giants, Frozen II, Moana) but they're definitely second at best on the priority list for Disney right now.

* Though the "Disney confession" above isn't mine, I pretty much agree with it. Surprisingly, Prince Philip is the exception among the princes - if you watch Sleeping Beauty with an eye to the Prince's story, you'll see the bulk of the film IS HIS STORY - and it's pretty great - goes against tradition, defies great odds, goes for his dreams, defeats the dragon, etc. It's also exciting, he makes mistakes, there's character growth,  he has a great sidekick, he faces off with the forces of evil and fights both a curse and physical dangers and he proves he'll be a great leader when it's his turn to become king. If you edited the beginning to be more Philip-centric and get rid of most of the ridiculous fairies-can't-do-anything domestic antics, the film is a great adventure movie and both girls and boys love it. #triedthisanditworkseverytime


  1. So many questions...mainly, "why?" They are going to have to be REALLY careful with their gender stereotypes. For all that I'm tired of just giving a Princess a sword and calling her feminist, I still don't want to see only the Prince get all the action. Maybe they will show him being vulnerable and creative?...

    Also...Snow White's Prince has a name?? I had no idea

  2. There are... so many... things wrong with all this XD One, I absolutely hate the "live action trend." Make new movies, people!!! Two: Yay! We get to watch a white dude fulfill his dreams and be a prince. How novel. *yawn* Also, as a storyteller, I break out in hives from "Prince Charming" as a single entity. Unless they do the Fables kind, in which he marries and divorces all princesses in a row. I would watch that. XD