Thursday, July 23, 2015

Maguire's "After Alice" Ripe for Optioning/ "Egg & Spoon" Already Picked Up By Universal

'Baba Yaga Houses' by Mahwa Fahmy 2012, 
Located in Museum Park, Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, Perth, WA, Austraia (Photographer unknown)
Update: With breadcrumbs from reader Pat, I found the sculptor-artist and location (but not the photographer of this photo unfortunately. "Now we know where those square eggs came from..."

Oh my goodness! I had completely forgotten this news, since it happened while I was down for the count last year: Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged hut are coming to the movies!! I am both excited and dreading what they will do with her... but honestly, her chicken-legged hut can only be looked forward to. We haven't seen her house in any modern movies yet though interest has been building for a while. Believe it or not, Baba Yaga, and her house, are very popular characters in a variety of role playing games these days - and you'll be glad to know she remains formidable!

 But first, the news about Maguire's soon-to-be-released novel "After Alice" (October 27th, 2015) and then we'll go back to Russian remixes.

I'm not sure if this is a public service announcement or a heads-up for you all, but it's interesting, especially in Alice's anniversary year. I wouldn't be surprised if certain studios have had their eye on Maguire's book, just in case, with certain Alice projects currently in development. I guess we'll know, come October (or September, depending on when the pre-release buzz truly begins).

From The Hollywood Reporter:
'After Alice' by Gregory Maguire (is) ripe for optioning.Universal has been trying to find a way to bring Gregory Maguire's best-selling novel and Broadway hitWicked to the big screen. Now, rival studios can land their own Maguire property with After Alice, a re-interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.
From Cape Cod Times (interview with Maguire):
Maguire: “I don’t try to crack an older story open with dynamite, but to worry a seam that has been left unexplored,” he told me.
 For instance, his upcoming novel, “After Alice,” set for an October release, picks up on Lewis Carroll’s brief mention of Alice’s friend Ada in “Alice in Wonderland.”
 “Alice mentions having two friends, Ada and Mabel… So I thought: who might Ada actually be? And what would she do if she saw Alice falling down the rabbit hole? Jump in after her? What next? …I didn’t invent Ada. I just said to myself, ‘Lewis Carroll left her there for me to find.’”
 “I was very surprised by the success of ‘Wicked.’ I’d always imagined it might have a downstream life as a mini-series or as a movie, but…had not imagined that it might be a stage musical,” he told me.
 His latest book “Egg & Spoon” (2014) has already been optioned for a Hollywood film by Universal Studios, and – who knows? – just may become the Next Big Thing.
 “It’s ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ meets ‘Frozen,’ except the exchanged children are girls, and the story takes place in 1907 pre-Revolutionary Russia. And it features an ice dragon, a dying Firebird, starvation, poverty, global warming and a talking kitten.”

Maguire's "Egg & Spoon" is a "for all ages" novel (that is, you can read it with kids, or give it to kids but also enjoy it as an adult). The book draws on Russian fairy tales of Baba Yaga and the Firebird, along with a melange of other story staples and legendary items, like Fabergé eggs, matryoshka dolls and, yes The Prince and the Pauper tale as well. (A summary and brief review from The Guardian HERE.)

Having recently read Maguire's other Russian tale for all ages "The Dream Stealer", which, by the way I very much enjoyed and will be sharing with my son for bedtime reading soon, it's fairly guaranteed that this will show the gentler, more reasonable side of Baba Yaga, though she's still rather fearsome.

So: now we wait to see a) what Maguire has done with Alice and b) who likes it enough to make (another) Alice movie. (But really, I'll be over here, watching for news of a Firebird or a walking chicken-legged hut, coming out of Universal!)


  1. I don't know the photographer, but the Baba Yaga houses are from Perth.

    1. Dear Pat, Thank you so much. When I did an image search Perth came up but I thought "wouldn't I know that?" I had forgotten how long it's been since I was home/there. Thank you. I found the sculptures. I can at least credit the artist who created them, though I still can't find the photographer for this photo. Will keep looking. Thank you for the breadcrumbs!

  2. I'll have to try Egg & Spoon. I didn't care much for Wicked, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.

    1. Honestly, I was't a huge Wicked fan either, though I enjoyed the concept. I liked his take on Snow White better. The children's books (Dream Stealer and Egg & Spoon) have inconsistent reviews but even though some of the writing was uneven, I can't get the great images from Dream Stealer out of my head. (Don't want to spoil them for you - it's a small book, a quick read -you could probably sit in the bookstore and read it actually!) I can see a movie being made from many of those ideas. Curious why it was Egg & Spoon caught the studio's attention rather than Dream Stealer so will have to hunt down a copy and find out for myself.