Thursday, April 23, 2015

Disney's Breaking Beanstalk News

Announced Thursday morning via The Hollywood Reporter:
Disney and Vince Gilligan, the creator of the acclaimed and very gritty AMC drama Breaking Bad, are teaming up to adapt the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. 
The studio is in negotiations to pick up Beanstalk, described as a revisionist take on the tale involving a young boy, magic beans and a giant, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. 
Gilligan has written a treatment for the project which will be written by Thomas Schnauz. Gilligan knows Schnauz pretty well: The man was a writer and co-executive producer on Gilligan's Breaking Bad and is working on the spinoff show Better Call Saul.

"Revisionist" is one of those buzzwords you see flying around reboots all the time. I'm not sure how they could do anything but a "revisionist take" at this juncture. After Jack the Giant Killer, I'm pretty sure they know they're going to need a different approach. (To be clear, the definition of revisionist (adj.) is: attempting to reevaluate and restate the past based on newly acquired standards.)

Vince Gilligan is known for flipping societal values on their heads, after all, he got a large part of the nation to sympathize with meth makers, and his upcoming show's protagonist also has a despicable character, so it's not too hard to see how he might 'revision' Jack et al.
While Gilligan and Schnauz's Breaking Bad credentials may seem like an odd choice to revive a beloved fairy tale, the sagas of Walter White and Jack — desperate men who will stop at nothing in order to provide for their families — aren't that dissimilar. (Rolling Stone)
But this is Disney and if they've proven anything the last few years, it's that they like to play it safe with the brand so I guess we'll see.

I can't help wondering if the general fan outcry from OUAT fans who still lament the quick demise of the female Jack, is influencing this in any way. And it's clear the positive reaction to see the traditional take on Jack in their Into The Woods, showed them the story still appeals, so there's that. I'm just wondering what this means for Disney's Giants (feature animated film based on Jack & the Beanstalk) which has been pushed back and back and back again until it's dangling out there around mid-2018. Is that still happening? I sincerely hope so.
Whatever the case this will be Disney's fifth time doing Jack and the Beanstalk in some variation now (including two early cartoons, OUAT and Into The Woods and that doesn't' include Giants yet), so maybe 'revisit' or 'reboot', even, would be better terms than 'revisionist'.

But my real thoughts? Totally curious. Really want to see what the plans are for this one, because I love that rascal Jack and his magic vegetables.


  1. You'll pardon my skepticism on this one, but I'm a bit wary. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is my favorite popular fairy tale and I can be a little bit picky about it. When I hear "revisionist take" in regards to this tale, I usually expect it to be a version that makes Jack the villain and the giant an unwitting victim which is the usual way of turning this tale on its head going all the way back to Jay Ward's "Fractured Fairy Tales" at least.

    1. Jack and the Beanstalk is one of my very favorite popular tales too (as you may have guessed, if you know my son's name). I will admit my nervousness about it too, but still do an inner happy-dance when I see it circulating in pop-culture. Although Jack may very well end up having villain-ish attributes, I'd be surprised if he doesn't end up heroic, The whole 'David & Goliath' aspect still appeals greatly in Western culture (and beyond too) and even if it ends up being an anti-hero story I think Jack will still end up appealing. Unfortunately, I don't expect to be too surprised, but I'll still be watching its development. (And yes, if I find out anything interesting, I shall share. :)