Thursday, October 3, 2013

Disney Picks Up "Happily Ever After" (Note: This is NEW news. Not a repeat of yesterdays, I promise)

Yes. I admit it. I nearly missed this completely because I thought I told you about this yesterday. Except that it's new for today and a totally different project. Totally. Really.

The only thing is that the exclusive news from The Hollywood Reporter doesn't mention if it's a movie or a TV series. Right now, all the language suggests "movie" so I'll run with that.
(Disney) has picked up (the fairy tale comedy) Happily Ever After, a pitch from Nahnatchka Khan, the creator of Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, that has Reese Witherspoon attached to star. 
Witherspoon is also on board to produce with her Pacific Standard partner Bruna PapandreaJohn Jacobs of Smart Entertainment is also producing. 
The idea is to catch up with a prince and princess about 10 years after they have ridden off into the sunset for their "happily ever after." The couple discovers that even in fairy-tale land, you have to work to keep your relationship and your life together.
And Reese Witherspoon gets to be a Disney princess. Finally.

(Remember when Brave was still The Bear & the Bow and wasn't quite Disney yet? She was almost-Merida for a while there but missed her opportunity to be added to the Disney equivalent of the Bond-girls canon.)

But Ms. Witherspoon isn't a stranger to fairy tale movies. She's been in a few before, just never as a princess (which is odd, really, because she has been compared to Cinderella more than once, yet I had to resort to perfume ads for a Reese-as-princess look).

It will be quite a departure from Freeway... (understatement of the year) or even her role in Penelope (as a supporting character, although she produced on that fairy tale too - one worth seeing by the way, if you haven't already; sweet, simple, solid).

Although it will be nice to see something focusing on fairy tales AFTER a wedding (life after a fairy tale wedding? Is there such a thing Disney? You never told us..) but is it just me, or do I feel like I'm suddenly drowning in fairy tale comic light, courtesy of Disney?

Although it would actually be very refreshing to see somebody take on the problems inherent in getting a real "happily ever after" for the rest of the prince and princesses' lives, I'm not truly confident that Disney is able to handle comedy with serious issues depth that could actually make this good. (Sorry. But happily-ever-after is the seriously difficult part of fairy tales and it's just not as exciting or visually spectacular - usually - as the rescue-the-prince, er, princess part and firework-worthy nuptials.)

With all the other fairy tale projects in development and production right now it feels like something else that got pushed out of the fairy tale franchise room as a half-formed idea. Did somebody spill some bibbidi-bobbidi-boo dust in the water cooler there or is everyone getting bitten by Enchanted bugs? Seriously, it's getting a little bizarre...

Here's hoping Ms. Witherspoon's recent "life experience" will help inform her in how to go about making this project both smart and satisfying (while still keeping the attention of Disney dreamers).

A little note on the emerging trend of fairy tale musical comedy & associated bandwagons: 

I should probably just shut up and be over-the-moon happy we'll be discussing fairy tales in popular culture for some time to come, right?

Although part of me is happy about that, my bigger concern is that the intensity of fairy tale image rewrites at present are once again changing the way we - (society/pop culture/"we the people") - will be viewing fairy tales in the future.

I had hoped with the darker re-visioning and anti-hero views, that it would have paved the way for people to rediscover the older tales once again and perhaps be writing/telling a few more, new ones, of their own (like Angela Carter did). I think it had started to, but that movement barely got off the ground before being suddenly awash in grownup glitter. The musical comedy bandwagon is being jumped on with rather desperate enthusiasm by Disney at present and it feels very much like an attempt to take back that "fairy tale crown" - ie all things fairy tale must belong to Disney. It's almost as if we're getting an intensified concentration of the princess/enchanted life culture again, but this time it's aimed at adults. Unfortunately, I know all those mothers who are horrified their little girls are choosing Monster High over Barbie will happily sign on to this trend.

Myself, I find it a little disturbing. *checks night sky for wishing stars to put to work on changing this*

1 comment:

  1. completely agree with your dismay at the "re-flattening' of fairy tales in the current culture...wonder if it's a reflection of the kick-back in politics & religion that is trying to push us back to the dark ages?