Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Fables" Movie Must-Haves (According to Mark Buckingham)

Fables Cover with Snow White and Bigby Wolf
While there hasn't been any new news from the Fables movie front (yet)  - apart from at Comic-Con last week DC's Diane Nelson said "Fables is a top priority" (!)it doesn't mean it isn't being talked about, nor that some fairly qualified people aren't weighing in with their (worth more than just) two cents.

Fables artist Mark Buckingham, while acknowledging that the Fables world is very complex and has a huge variety of options in story lines and characters to concentrate on, regarding a "first" movie, he believes there are at least two "must have" characters, if the world (and franchise) is to get off on the right foot.

In talking to iO9 he said:
I think if it doesn't have Snow White and Bigby [Wolf] in it, then... [that's a problem]. They were such a core element of the first 50 issues of the story. So I think their romance, their relationship, is a really core aspect of the series. Beyond that, the beauty of Fables is it has such a rich cast, and you can really cherry-pick a lot of different aspects from it, and create a really good story, even if you don't necessarily follow the entire narrative.
He adds that he hopes director Nikolaj Arcel and whoever winds up being the cinematographer don't try to copy his art style:
I always treat these things as very different beasts. When they take a comic and decide to make a TV series or an animation or a movie, I think it's up to them to find their own voice and their own vision for how to make that translation into another medium. So for me, the excitement's going to be seeing how they interpret what we do and take it into a new and exciting direction. I'm not looking for anyone to be wedded to the comic, I think all of these things are springboards into new areas. (Edit FTNH: video of Mark saying all this at the link - though it's a little difficult to hear properly with the background chatter)
Splashpage has some important reminders to add to the mix as well:
The "Fables" universe has grown to rival that of the entire DC superhero universe, which makes sense considering that the title counts pretty much every fairy tale character created across the world in its cast—and plenty of original characters too. 
"Fables" has been running since 2002 and produced over 130 issues, not including any of its spinoff series like "Jack of Fables" and "Fairest." Pinpointing one story to tell in one film seems like a rather daunting task, especially considering that the comic's first main storyline—involving the return of the mysterious and dangerous Adversary—took about 75 issues to tell. That's a lot of story for a movie. 
No actors have been cast yet and the project is still very much in the development phase over at Warner Bros. Nikolaj Arcel ("A Royal Affair") will direct, with Jeremy Slater handling the screenplay. 
Given that there really is just so much to choose from, what would be your choice? Do you think Warner Bros will follow a growing trend of telling more male oriented fairy tales* such as those Jack or Peter & Max (though that wouldn't open the way for a franchise in quite the same way), or will they follow Issue 1 to set up the world and "cherry pick" from there?

(Gosh, you can see an almost endless possibilities of very engaging movies from this vantage!)

Personally, given that the Fables game (scroll down link to see game info) tells the prequel of Bigby Wolf, I'd be surprised if he wasn't a key player in the movie. That combined with the "first 50 issues" argument makes for a strong case for Snow & her Wolf to be the stars of a first Fables movie.

(I think we just got even more pumped for this!)

*Have you noticed Peter Pan and Neverland are popping up all over the place recently? Just an observation...

Kafka for Kids (Very Different Sorts of Fairy Tales)

It's Kafka for kids! Writer and video game designer Matthue Roth reads Kafka to his kids one night, almost by accident ("Tell us a story Daddy! No. A NEW story!..") and boom: an idea for a children's book is born.

And it's a good one.*

From TimesOfIsrael:
‘My First Kafka’ offers a new sort of fairy tale
Our infatuation with fairy tales is at an all-time high, from young adult novels like “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer to darker fare from Hollywood, such as the upcoming Angelina Jolie vehicle “Maleficent.” Of course, there’s a long history of grim (and Grimm) tales that have fascinated children, who are as delighted by the spooky and scary as they are by Cinderella’s mice. It’s just we’ve spent a long time Disney-fying them for modern audiences. 
Matthue Roth’s new book “My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs” fits perfectly into this genre of satisfyingly strange tales for children. Yes, they’re illustrated Kafka stories, which makes it sound like it’s the sort of wink-wink-nod-nod tchotchke you might pick up for a gift for new parents. When you talk to Roth, however, you realize “My First Kafka” is no joke.
The 34-year-old stumbled upon the idea after reading Kafka to his two daughters. “It happened because it happened,” he says over tea in DUMBO, Brooklyn. “I was sitting around reading Kafka, my kids wanted a story, we’d already read all their books, and I was like, okay, here we go! Here’s a story... 
Instead of unknown crimes and piles of never-ending paperwork – the more mundane, adult terrors of Kafka’s world – we’re given the sad tales of confused, lost creatures. Yet the grotesquerie of a man who is inexplicably transformed into a bug is exactly the sort of thing that would thrill a young audience.
But what exactly is this book about? Isn't Kafka well... Kafka?
Runaway children who meet up with monsters. A giant talking bug. A secret world of mouse-people. The stories of Franz Kafka are wondrous and nightmarish, miraculous and scary. In My First Kafka, storyteller Matthue Roth and artist Rohan Daniel Eason adapt three Kafka stories into startling, creepy, fun stories for all ages. With My First Kafka, the master storyteller takes his rightful place alongside Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, and Lemony Snicket as a literary giant for all ages.
It misses this important aspect though, which brainpickings describes so well:
With stunning black-and-white illustrations by London-based fine artist Rohan Daniel Eason, this gem falls — rises, rather — somewhere between Edward GoreyMaurice Sendak, and the Graphic Canon series. 
As for the choice to adapt Kafka’s characteristically dark sensibility for children, Roth clearly subscribes to the Sendakian belief that grown-ups project their own fears onto kids, who welcome rather than dread the dark. Indeed, it’s hard not to see Sendak’s fatherly echo in Eason’s beautifully haunting black-and-white drawings.
Here's a good introduction to Metamorphosis, an illustration from which graces the front of this gem, from The Guardian:
Did you feel OK when you woke up this morning? Spare a thought for Gregor Samsa, that most unlucky of literary heroes. "When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed … " 
Thus Franz Kafka opens one of the most resonant stories of 20th-century literature, about an ordinary man who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into an bug of indeterminate kind – an insect, a beetle, a cockroach – the original German "ungeheueren Ungeziefer" leaves his exact species ambiguous...
Here's the Google Doodle from this year, celebrating Kafka's birthday, showing how much appeal a man transformed into a "bug" can have (the image is static, but facts about Kafka appear below):
There is also a great little picture book called Beetle Boy by Lawrence David (and illustrated by Delphine Durand) that reminds me very much of this. When I finally found it in our bookshelves, I found that it was, indeed, inspired by Kafka's Metamorphosis, the intent being to rewrite the story for much younger readers. I'm pleased to say this one is a favorite in our house, so this "Kafka for Kids" should fit in well.

* I nearly posted on the Google doodle on Kafka's birthday, thinking that Metamorphosis has a certain fairy tale quality, albeit with a difference. 

Just Right for a OUAT Morning Show: Yvette Nicole Brown Is Goldie Locksley

I should apologize for not highlighting this when it came in, but honestly I didn't think it was weird, different or standout when it did. It didn't occur to me to make a big deal of a black woman being cast as Goldilocks because, well, why not?

Perhaps, because I've been looking at a lot of different fairy tales from cultures all over the world again lately, including variations of what we think of as "European ones", it just didn't stand out.  But isn't that just as it should be? I don't know...

So I'm posting a LOOK AT THIS! just in case I really should have pointed this out as a big deal, because to some people it (rightly) will be.

Yvette Nicole Brown is playing Goldilocks (actually, Goldie Locksley) on Once Upon A Time! Sort of.
From WetPaint: 
Yvette won’t be on the hit ABC show when it returns this fall; instead, she’s featured as Good Morning Storybrooke news anchor “Goldie Locksley” on OUAT Season 2 bonus features, ET Online revealed today (July 18, 2013). She describes her unique portrayal of Goldilocks as a “Katie Couric” type who is “really bubbly and smiles a lot,” which is unsurprisingly familiar to her Community character, Shirley.

Here's Yvette Nicole Brown's response on taking Goldie Locksley's chair on the OUAT morning show:
Though Yvette admitted that “every black chick in Hollywood is waiting for that call for [The Princess and the Frog’s] Tiana,” she’s happy “they made Goldilocks a curvy black chick.” To see her twist on the classic character — including Goldie Locksley’s reports on Bambi’s survival, the town’s wolves acting up, and the Little Lady Who Lives in a Shoe,” pick up Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season on August 13
Here's a little, extremely-excited-crew interview, behind-the-scenes of Good Morning Storybrooke from ETonline:
I do find this interesting though: a call to see whether people would like to have Ms. Brown join the OUAT cast as a show regular. The only problem I see with this is that such a character really is larger than life and difficult to keep under control the radar, which may not fit well with the soap-like dynamic of individual crisis' happening in Storybrooke (although the main cast aren't even there this season, they're in Neverland), but I like the potential for shaking things up.
Would you like to see Yvette Nicole Brown on OUAT permanently? Check out a Good Morning Storybrooke set visit video below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!
For myself, I would LOVE to see her riff on the Once upon A Time doings! She was a fantastically insightful, smart and very funny guest on The Talking Dead last season (hosted commentary show immediately airing after the latest episode of The Walking Dead - not to be missed if you like pop-culture - the thoughts thrown around here are really punchy stuff) and I wondered then why I hadn't seen her talk more as herself, rather than just as a character. 

Attention OUAT creators: If you want some extra thought-provoking and hilarious material, let Yvette ad lib! (You can always edit later...)

If you want to see Ms. Brown join the regular cast, pipe up HERE!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Course Details on the FREE USF Fairy Tale MOOC with Kevin Yee (Starts August 5th!)

Note: All images in this post are from one of my newer favorite illustrated version of Snow White. These are from "Blancanieves" by Iban Barranetxea (website/blog at link)
Free Online Class: Fairy Tales by Kevin Yee 
(Reposted from HERE with permission)
Some of you know that my “day job” is in Higher Education. Among the classes I teach is one on Fairy Tales, with focus on Disney, Grimms, and Perrault. This college class is now available to the general public, and it’s completely free! There’s not even a book to buy for the class! 
The class is a massive open online course (MOOC) and is administered through - it’s free to sign up and take the class! It’s a four-week course starting on August 5. 
Here’s the schedule:
Week 1 – Cinderella
Week 2 – Snow White and Sleeping Beauty
Week 3 – Rapunzel and the Frog Princess
Week 4 – Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast 
The class was built to expect about two hours of engagement/interaction (“work”) per week, so it’s not meant to overload the participants with chores and duties. In that sense, it’s less rigorous than my regular college classes. The class doesn’t have any required (synchronous) meetings; you do the work whenever you want within the week. 
This course does not have a completion certificate – you’d be taking it just for the fun of it. There aren’t any papers or projects. While the class does offer quizzes and discussion boards, there isn’t really a rigorous process to “pass” the course since there isn’t a certificate offered anyway. 
The class is, however, experimental in a different sense: it’s got game elements in it. We added badges and group competition, as well as Easter eggs, throughout the class. Each group is named after one of Walt’s seven dwarfs–it works a lot like the Harry Potter “house” competition, where individuals can earn badges for the whole group. This should be fun! 
Please feel free to sign up and spread the word. I can’t wait to share with you what these fairy tales used to mean and how they’ve been changed for modern audiences!! Sign up HERE.
One of the "nicer" (?) ways I've seen the Queen depicted ,dancing to her death in red hot iron shoes
I've signed up. Will you join me? Hope to see some of you next week and talk fairy tales with you!

Labyrinth Prequel Available For Pre-Order

And it's beautiful!

Illustrated by the amazing fantasy and fairy tale artist, Cory Godbey, this soon-to-be-released hardcover is definitely on my wishlist. (If you want a quick overview of his work you can check the OUABlog Pinterest board for Godbey HERE.)

The plot, being a prequel, revolves around how Jareth became The Goblin King Sarah encounters in the movie, giving us a strong sense that this story has been going on (or in circles) for a very long time (sounds very "Faerie").

Synopsis from
Archaia and The Jim Henson Company are proud to present an original prequel to Jim Henson’s classic fantasy film. Labyrinth is one of Jim Henson's most beloved works, with a built-in audience of millions of fans worldwide. Years before Sarah entered the labyrinth, a young boy named Jareth faced his own incredible journey in a desperate attempt to rescue his true love from the clutches of the wicked and beautiful Goblin Queen. This graphic novel is produced under the complete supervision of Lisa Henson, the daughter of the late Jim Henson and CEO of the Jim Henson Company.
Although the book isn't set to be released until April 29, 2014 (Argh! So far away!) you can now pre-order, and get a decent discount to boot, HERE. (*cheers*)

We got a little preview of how the book might look on free-comic book day (May 4, 2013) and after I tracked one down I was even more impressed than I expected to be. Cory's illustrations are just perfect and fit the Labyrinth designs so well, it almost appears as if they were meant to be drawn that way from the start. Peeks are below:

The prequel writers are Ted Naifeh (who has recently been working with Holly Black) and Adrianne Ambrose (nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for her work writing video games) and worked very closely with Lisa Henson (the late Jim Henson's daughter) as well as the Jim Henson company in general, which means, this project wasn't just farmed out for profit. The people in charge of the Labyrinth "property" (rights) cared very much about how it came together and I think it shows.
Here's what we were told was in the works when the prequel was first announced (excerpts from the exclusive article with EW on January 6, 2012):
“We can say it’s a prequel*,” (Archaia editor-in-chief Stephen Christy) says with understandable excitement. “It’s the story of how Jareth is brought into the Labyrinth for the first time. So, it doesn’t deal with Sarah, it doesn’t deal with Toby or anything like that."
...“It’s a very tragic story that is the opposite of Sarah’s, which has triumph at the end,” Christy explains. “It’s a prequel, so we know what happens in the movie. We know how it’s going to end: Jareth is going to be the Goblin King … so we’re showing how he’s pulled into the Labyrinth for the first time. It’s going to be cool. We’re switching up the dynamic of it, but what we’re doing is completely true to the spirit of the original.”  
...Of course, since music also a played such a large role in the movie, Christy is hoping to see songs integrated into the graphic novel as well. “I don’t know if this will work out,” he cautions, “but I want to do songs where they’re songs being sung (by characters) and we show the notes on the page, so you can actually play along.”  Which only begs the question: will these be David Bowie songs?  “We’re talking,” he says with a smile. “The budget to get Bowie to do one song would be the budget of all the books, but we’re talking to him to at least get his blessing or maybe an introduction or something.“ 
“He also has likeness approval,” Christy clarifies, an important fact given that the (as-of-yet-unannounced [Edit FTNH: Cory Godbey!]) artist on the book will be “drawing Jareth like a young David Bowie.” The character would be Sarah’s age or a little older during the course of the story. “He’s kind of a punk in his own way. We’re huge fans so we know that if we’re getting excited, other fans will.”  
...“I hope that Jim would be happy to see how a whole generation grew up with this movie,” he says, reflecting on the film’s cult following. “Labyrinth was a big deal to a lot of people. It was one of those movies that stays with you from your childhood. We can probably count on two hands the movies that really affected us when we were kids, and I think for a lot of people Labyrinth was one of them.”
So we have yet to find out how much of the original intent remains. All we can say for certain right now is that it's gorgeous!
The graphic novel follows a series of manga sequels to Labyrinth, which featured an older Toby as he returned to the Labyrinth to become Jareth's heir.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Anvita: Awakening To The Art of Indian Classical Dance With Sleeping Beauty

Note: I began writing a post, only to realize the whole article was so interesting I didn't want to leave any of it out. Rather than pick and choose I contacted Knight Arts Blog and Ms. Warier who kindly gave consent to reproduce the whole article here.

Classic fairytale reawakens with a twist: Indian dance group to perform “Sleeping Beauty”
By RANJANA WARIER, Rhythms School of Dance

Nearly everyone knows the story behind the famed children’s fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” but an energetic new adaption of the classic story could help promote a new level of cultural understanding. The Rhythms School of Dance will present two performances August 31 and September 1 that will use the beloved story to help showcase the beauty of traditional Indian classical dance.
Artistic Director Ranjana Warier says using a familiar story like a fairy tale provides a creative way to connect Indian traditions with other cultures. “The problem with traditional Indian dance is that it is abstract and obscure. There are symbolisms and complex codes and if you are not familiar with all these details, it’s hard to stay engaged. This dance drama puts customs into a story that people already know very well. Instead of highlighting the differences, the performance will show our similarities,” said Warier.
“Few things like the arts can bring people together, providing the kinds of collective experiences that build great communities,” said Dennis Scholl, VP/arts at Knight Foundation. “By providing a hybrid performance, the Rhythms School of Dance will provide a way for our diverse community to connect and celebrate all that our various cultures have to offer.”
As a 2012 Knight Arts Challenge Miami winner, Warier has brought together a team of professional Indian classical dancers and advanced students for the production, which will include English narration to help make the ancient Indian art form understandable. The colorful and high energy show is ideal for all ages and will also include a surprise twist at the end. There will also be a lecture series surrounding the performances to demystify the complexity of traditional Indian storylines.
Ranjana Warier was introduced to Indian classical dance at the age of six and thrives on preserving and promoting India’s artistic traditions. She has performed at events worldwide and says dance is a wonderful way to breakdown cultural barriers. “South Florida, like India, is a melting pot of cultures coming together. People are recognizing a lot of things they haven’t been open to before because of the beautiful diverse opportunity here,” Warier said.
The performances will be held August 31 and September 1 at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, located at 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd. on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.  The show will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20, $30 and $40 and can be purchased by calling 954-462-0222 or at For more information, contact Ranjana Warier at 954-472 6004 or by email at
This article was reposted with permission from Ranjana Warier, originally published on the Knight Arts blog. 
Note: Anvita is an Indian girl's name meaning "understood".

Sunday, July 28, 2013

LX Magazine's Tribute to 200th Anniversary of Grimms Household Tales - Dornröschen (Tale 5 of 5)

"Sleeping Beauty" Photography Viona lelegems, Model Jolien Rosanne, Post-production Chester Van Bommel
The fifth and final tale from the 200th Anniversary Grimm's Household Tales Tribute by Lx Magazine: Illuminating Luxury. I hope you've enjoyed our little weekly fairy tale luxury postings! There is so much to mine from the 2012 200th anniversary celebrations. I'm glad this was one of them. Beautiful in every way.
- FTNH aka Fairy Tale News Hound aka Gypsy
Dornröschen - Little Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty
“After many, many years there came another king’s son into that land, and an old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns, and how a beautiful palace stood behind it, in which was a wondrous princess, called Briar Rose, asleep with all her court. He told, too, how he had heard from his grandfather that many, many princes had come, and had tried to break through the thicket, but had stuck fast and died. Then the young prince said, ‘All this shall not frighten me; I will go and see Briar Rose.’ The old man tried to dissuade him, but he persisted in going.
Now that very day the hundred years were completed; and as the prince came to the thicket he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through which he passed with ease, and they closed after him as firm as ever. Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the yard lay the dogs asleep, and the horses in the stables, and on the roof sat the pigeons fast asleep with their heads under their wings; and when he came into the palace, the flies slept on the walls, and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand as if she would beat the boy, and the maid sat with a black fowl in her hand ready to be plucked.
Then he went on still further, and all was so still that he could hear every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower and opened the door of the little room in which Briar Rose was, and there she lay fast asleep, and looked so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke, and smiled upon him.
Then they went out together, and presently the king and queen also awoke, and all the court, and they gazed on each other with great wonder. And the horses got up and shook themselves, and the dogs jumped about and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under their wings, and looked about and flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed away; the fire in the kitchen blazed up and cooked the dinner, and the roast meat turned round again; the cook gave the boy the box on his ear so that he cried out, and the maid went on plucking the fowl.
And then was the wedding of the prince and Briar Rose celebrated, and they lived happily together all their lives.”

You can read the full tale as published by Grimms Household Tales HERE (translated to English) and learn much more about Sleeping Beauty's history HERE.

Thus is the end of our tribute tale from Lx Magazine. We are so grateful they shared their fairy tales with us.
(Links below to all posts in this tribute series should now be live!)
*** TALE 1 *** TALE 2 *** TALE 3 *** TALE 4 *** TALE 5 *** 

When "Game Of Thrones" Meets Fairy Tales

The Princess and the dragon are one in Game of Thrones
Note: All images are made by (talented) fans who are clearly storytellers themselves...

It should come as no surprise that people see fairy tale themes and story lines cropping up in their favorite shows - even where none were intended - and the increase in popularity of "collaged image" fan art from TV shows has become an excellent way of people presenting how they see the show: the themes, the subtext, the fairy tales.

Here are three specific uses of fairy tale I found recently for the very popular HBO series Game Of Thrones (based on George R.R. Martin's best selling novel series A Song of Fire & Ice):

The first is regarding the youngest and scrappiest daughter of the Stark family, Arya. So young, yet on the run from many who might seek to harm her. Her family sigil is the "Direwolf" (essentially a monstrous wolf) and though she's had to part ways from her real companion animal, little Arya Stark proves herself wily and adept at navigating her "dark forest". Arya is very much the Little Red Riding Hood we wish our girls could be (while desperately hoping their woods will never be half so dark).
You have the eyes of a wolf and a taste for blood.

Arya's elder sister, Sansa, is a recognized Beauty and nothing like her sister (or so it would seem to everyone, including the sisters themselves). She was brought up to be a lady and tries very hard to be every inch that example, though is initially a little arrogant in lording that. Even when circumstances turn from her naive idea of fairytale to nightmare, she appears to remain soft in her ladylike manners and beauty. When she becomes trapped by people and circumstance she finds she has nothing left to defend herself with, other than the lessons she paid attention to - to be a proper lady and her spirit which is far stronger than even she knows. In Sansa, the opposite of Arya, we see a different female strength: one with a patient and adaptive spirit. One who quickly understands her limitations and physical weaknesses but doesn't give up hope, doing her best to rally herself to action at just the right moment. The beasts she encounters come in all forms - pretty ones who's souls are evil, ugly ones who show compassion when she least expects it. Sansa herself learns to no longer look on the outside, taking the hard road to wisdom, yet keeping her poise. It is the riddle that she must keep solving: who is a true beast and who is a true man? We can only hope our girls will show as much strength as Sansa does (like Beauty), in her situation, no matter what Beasts come their way.

He throws our human aspirations to the godlike sadly awry; only from a distance would you think The Beast not much different from any other man, although he wears a mask with a man’s face painted most beautifully on it.  Oh, yes, a beautiful face; but one with too much formal symmetry of feature to be entirely human: one profile of his mask is the mirror image of the other, too perfect, uncanny.
He is a carnival figure made of papier mâché and crêpe hair; and yet he has the Devil’s knack at cards.

Sansa has also been likened to Sleeping Beauty, as she waits, a hostage, in a tower, keeping her true nature quiet, asleep if you will, as she waits to be free of this curse she's under (though those who put the curse on her are actually waiting for her to "flower" or bloom into womanhood so she can be married to the (truly evil) King Joffrey and get with his child. In Sansa's case, things change and though her forced betrothal to the king becomes void, she is assured she will still be "deflowered" and remains under the curse. When the replacement, Margaery Tyrellwho is set to be Joffrey's new queen, arrives, Sansa becomes, in fact, surrounded by roses. Specifically it's the Court of Roses, which is the Tyrell family sigil.

During the princess’ long captivity, the riotous roses that bloomed on the thickets about her tower became her sole companions. 

They are the only ones she can speak to, even if it is using the "language of flowers" (in this case veiled conversations and witty use of courtly manners to say what cannot be said out loud). For a time, at least, Sansa is friends and allies with her flowery friends but it's very clear these roses have thorns and she would do best to be wary of their company as well.

The Game Of Thrones versions of these fairy tales, of course, remain unfinished. If you know anything of Game of Thrones it may be that the creator George R.R. Martin is likely to kill off any main character at any point in time. No one is safe. That this threat hangs over the stories of these girls in their versions of these tales, make it even more poignant.

And once again we see the strength of the fairy tale shine through. Though there is no guarantee of a happy ever after (especially here) there is still much we can take from these tales.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Article: OUAT Creators Defend "Disneyfication" (& the Horowitz-Kitsis-fication) of Fairy Tales

This is an interesting report from The National. I've rarely heard OUAT creators, Horowitz and Kitsis, refer (even obliquely, like in this article) to NBC's Grimm since both shows premiered, let alone comparing the darker, more traditional side of fairy tales (or their compatibility with procedurals, urban fantasy and horror) with the Disney/ABC "dark" touch that people talk about OUAT showcasing. (The "dark" touch being taking Disney characters and giving them backstories, making their characters more gray than black-and-white good or evil.)

The article is is definitely worth reading as I think they share an important point of why people like Disney versions of tales, indeed, why people like "predictably happy" versions of fairy tales.

It also suggests that the "dark" in tales that some people are looking to explore (especially right now) is different to both the Brothers Grimm's nice-ified-for-their-time versions and current available, more explicit versions (eg how NBCs Grimm uses tales).

Excerpts fro The National article:
The malleability of fairy tales to adapt to their times has kept them as vibrant as pixie dust for centuries, so it comes as no surprise that Once Upon a Time is still swinging its magic wand like a Louisville Slugger bat... 
Shows such as Grimm, where mythology fuses with police procedural, demonstrate how readily the fairy tale can meld into a hybrid, while the youth fuelled CW network’s new foray into the genre, Beauty and the Beast, casts a female detective as the beauty. Cynics take note; all three shows have already been renewed for the 2013-2014 seasons. 
Whereas the origins of fairy tales are bathed in dark curses, cautionary tales, death, lost love and spilt blood — the “Disneyfication” of all of the above, with its de rigueur happy ending, has brought positive messages of hope, inner beauty, romance and self-empowerment to shine more warmly over the magical firmament in the 21st century. 
“These fairy tales always have an element of darkness and, for us, there’s a big distinction between darkness and unpleasantness,” (says) Adam Horowitz...“And we never want to go there. We’re never going to be a serial-killer show. We want to touch on the darkness and the scariness that are inherent in these stories. We also try to never lose sight of one of the guiding principles of this show, which is hope.” 
We’ve witnessed this through the second season as the Evil Queen/Regina (Lana Parrilla) – who ripped out the Huntsman’s chest and killed her own father in season one – now reveals hints of inner goodness and random acts of kindness as she fights to save Storybrooke from the doom of the encroaching forest.
(Emphasis in bold is mine.)

There is an implication in the article that shows like Grimm are unpleasantly dark and that they don't contain - or maintain - hope, but I don't think that's true. I think the hope in Grimm shines very brightly, perhaps because it's contrasted by the obvious dark.

However, different shows - and types of stories - appeal to different people. And that's as it should be. Would you rather see more true implications of what "ripping out someone's heart" would be (such as is made more explicit in the fan made image collage below, which, in this presentation, looks closer to something out of Hannibal that it does OUAT)? Or would you rather the implication that someone who regularly rips out people's heart "isn't necessarily all bad" when they "do an act of good"? (Which, when you apply that to real life is a little disturbing!) Although real people are shades of gray, which makes these OUAT fairy tale characters more relatable to many people than they have been in the past, when it comes to ripping out hearts, I don't think a judge and jury in our courts would be very lenient...

I know, I know. It's supposed to be a metaphor - or at least symbolic. But that's my point.

Because, you see, either preference is just one POV. Neither invalidates OUAT's way of telling stories. Or Grimm's. Some people need to hear the tales told that way in order to relate them to their lives.

I think we need both versions - or retellings - of tales. The only problem happens when one form of storytelling attempts to eclipse all else. Then people only have one option for exploring stories and issues and that's completely the opposite of what fairy tales are for.

So: I want both please. Or all. I want them all!


The article also discusses the melding/crossing over between fairy tale and fantasy worlds that OUAT has become known for and is gearing up to do bigtime in Season 3 as they head into Neverland.

They also speculate on how "merging mythologies" of Neverland and fairy tale character histories will develop... something which I am curious about too because it's become clear that whatever aspects OUAT melds together will forever change the way this generation (at least) will view those individual tales and characters forever.

You can read the whole article HERE.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Syfy Is Reimagining "Oz". (Again.) As a Fantasy-Action Miniseries. (Again?)

So... wasn't it not that long ago that we had Zooey Deschanel stomp her steampunky, un-red boots across Oz on Syfy's Tin Man?

My mistake.

That was SciFi and it was a looooong time ago in 2007. (!)

But this is different...


How different exactly?

The scoop from Deadline:
Bekmambetov directing
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 
Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov is venturing into television with Warriors Of Oz, a mini-series project which has landed at Syfy. Bekmambetov will create Warriors Of Oz based on his idea. 

It is a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story in which a warrior from present day Earth is transported to a post-apocalyptic future Oz* where he must team up with three other warriors, Heartless, Brainless, and Coward, in order to defeat the evil Wizard who has enslaved the land. Bekmambetov is set to executive produce and possibly direct.  Search is under way for a writer to pen the mini, which will be produced by Universal Cable Prods. 
So it will be different.

In fact it could be quite different. It could be very funny. It will likely be very action-y. It might make critics just as happy as Tin Man did and it might... not.

You know what I'm most p-annoyed at? A little two letter word in there: "he". Dorothy is either in very heavy reverse-Tootsie disguise or one of the classic American girl heroines just got benched for a pec-man (assuming he'll be showing his muscles). :/

Whatever the case,  I can already envision a plethora of warrior designs for Heartless, Brainless and Coward.... (actually I think deviantArtists may have been secretly developing this idea themselves for years...)
Warriors by kerembeyit-d37ia4y

The Twisted World of Oz by ~ginoroberto

The Warriors of Oz by R-Tan
This is one of those things that will either be brilliant or... really won't (and then gets shoved under the Sharknado-ed carpet).

Oh, who am I kidding? IF THEY FIX the Dorothy thing, I will TOTALLY tune in to this! (At least for the first few minutes.)

*Post-apocalyptic future Oz. What the hay happened??! Did someone secrete away the remaining flying monkeys and genetically alter them into Planet of the Flying Monkey dudes that took over the Emerald City and used the Scarecrow for, uh, bedding, or what? (Can you tell it's really late and I'm both very tired and my filter is malfunctioning?)