Friday, February 22, 2019

Henson's 'The Storyteller' Is Getting A Gaiman-Assisted Reboot & Reimagining (O Happy Day!)

Yes, it's true. The Storyteller - that inspired and beloved anthology series that fairy tale folk recommend at every turn - is coming back to the small screen (ie. whatever device you currently watch TV or stream on). It's going to get a little updating and "reimagining", thanks to Neil Gaiman and a new generation of Henson Creature Shop folks, and to cater to the new (lucrative) world order of binge-watching/streaming viewers but we are being promised that it will still recognizably be Jim Henson's original vision.

Deadline had the exclusive when the news broke on February 19, 2019.
In the new incarnation, written and executive produced by Gaiman, The Storyteller will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore. It will be updated to work “for the binging kind” of viewer of today, Gaiman said.
We might be getting more of a backstory on the Storyteller himself too...
“Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don’t know.,” he said. “Who was the Storyteller, why was he telling these stories, was he a goblin, what kind of creature? What I’d love to do is an inside story that’s as long as the outside story. We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is, we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know. We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed. If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive.”
But never fear. This won't "devolve" into a drawn-out character story and ignore the tales it originally meant to highlight. We're going to be treated to brand new "old tales" from around the world. 
“The original Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales,” Gaiman said. 
Gaiman and Henson would not say which fairytales they are planning to tackle. “We have our eye on lots of them and one of the things that was brilliant (about The Storyteller) was, they would take little known versions of well-known fairytales because every story comes in various different versions, and I think that’s definitely something that I would love to keep going,” Gaiman said.
That makes us heave a huge sigh of relief! The unique and memorable retelling of lesser-known tales is the whole reason we adore The Storyteller and it would seem that both Lisa Henson and Neil Gaiman intend to keep this core intact. (Yay!)

Within that frame, the aim is to create new and innovative directorial methods for blending puppetry, tales and live action with a variety of unique directors - a risky, but needed move to breathe life back into the series and reach a whole new generation in the making. 
Lisa Henson whose studies in folklore and Greek mythology at Harvard university inspired her father, Jim Henson, to create The Storyteller series, is well qualified to develop a folklore-related project.  Folklore, myth and old fairy and folktales are an interest she and Gaiman not only have in common but have bonded over since they met in 1991, so this project is personally important to both of them with regard to using integrity in bringing old tales to life again. Regarding how they would approach this for an audience that has a very different view of the world to the original Storyteller audience and consumes entertainment very differently, Lisa elaborated a little on their new approach:
“I think that we’re looking to do the same thing here, (Ed: a.k.a. use non-linear shooting with impactful imagery like music video directors do) work with the directors who can do the most innovative work with puppetry technologies to marry it up in that truly innovative modern way with word crafting.”
We are SO EXCITED!

What tales - and cultural variants - would you like to see be brought to life in the new Storyteller series?
If you would like to read more of the production details currently available, you can read the whole exclusive article at Deadline HERE.

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