Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Breaking News: "A Tale Dark & Grimm" in the Movie-Making

FilmNation is making Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark & Grimm into a movie (I know there are MANY people who have been waiting for this to happen).

Coraline director Henry Selick has signed on to direct A Tale Dark & Grimm, a live-action film based on Adam Gidwitz's children's novel.Inspired by the Grimm fairy tales, the story follows two children who run away from their own dark fairy tale in hopes of finding a happier life, but they end up landing in eight other terrible tales. (THR)
Henry Selick didn't just helm Coraline but also A Nightmare Before Christmas (love that movie!) and James & the Giant Peach, so adapting children's stories isn't a new thing. This one, however, is live-action so I'm curious to see how he goes about it.

The book (and series) have almost been begging for someone to option them and transform them to the big screen and unless Selick and co. do a really bad job on the adaptation, it's going to be a big winner for the studio (and fairy tales everywhere).

Here's the synopsis in case you haven't read the book (FYI: you should fix that right away!):
In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.
...and the simple, but effective, trailer from Penguin, in case you haven't seen it either:
And, if you're not yet convinced this is worth your time (and that you should read it BEFORE the movie comes out) I am including an excerpt from a review from The New York Times:
“A Tale Dark & Grimm,” by Adam Gidwitz, is something else entirely. In fact, it’s unlike any children’s book I’ve ever read. If “Reckless” is an old-school fairy tale fantasy, and “The Grimm Legacy” is a modern one, “A Tale Dark & Grimm” is a completely postmodern creation. It plunks Hansel and Gretel into a succession of other, lesser-known Grimm tales — “Faithful Johannes,” “The Three Golden Hairs,” “Brother and Sister” and more — but creates a narrative through-line that wends through all the tales like a trail of bread crumbs. Parents do horrible things; they fail their children, and they kill them. But Hansel and Gretel become true heroes — they go on a quest; they save others; they come home; they learn to understand their parents’ burdens and failings. Heavy. And yet “A Tale Dark & Grimm” is really, really funny. The first line is “Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.” 
The tone ricochets between lyrical and goofy. There’s an intrusive, Snicket-y narrator who warns the reader every time gore is imminent, apologizing, urging the reader to hustle the little kids out of the room. And it all works. As the story progresses, it gets less and less faithful to the source material and becomes its own increasingly rich and strange thing. A Child’s Garden of Metafiction! It reminds me of Eudora Welty’s “Robber Bridegroom,” in which bits of fairy tales, myths, legends and Southern folklore are stitched together into a marvelous new . . . something. 
Gosh - so many new fairy tale movies in the works. Still! *pig-in-mud grin*


  1. Oh how I loved this book! But I have to confess that I can't imagine it as a movie. It really is, as the narrator repeatedly warns, rather gruesome. Manageable for kids in a novel, I think, but a little less so on big screen. Still, will be interested to see how it turns out!

  2. Are there an casting calls soon?