(Written for BritScene)
We have seen a number of re-imaginations of children’s fairytales lately, with Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland in 2010 and Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood in 2011, and we can expect to see many more classics being retold in a darker context over the next couple of years, including Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures of Snow White and Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012, and in 2013 with Jack The Giant Killer and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
The latest news on this recently popular genre is that Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro (Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark) is set to direct a new take on the classic fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast, which sees a young girl, Belle, entrapped in the palace of a former prince who is turned into a hideous Beast by a curse.
Bigger news yet, British actress Emma Watson (My Week With Marilyn), who is soon to star in her first lead role since playing Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise in David Yates‘ Your Voice In My Head, is in final talks to star in the project, presumably as Belle, so it looks like there is already a decent cast lining up for the project too.
Nearly helmed as the director of the adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit before Peter Jackson took back the reins, we haven’t seen much of the Mexican producer, writer and director work lately, at least not in the directorial chair. Only attached to produce the project alongside Denise DiNovi (Edward Scissorhands) at first, more recent reports confirm that he will now be directing the film as well, with Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones’ Diary) writing the screenplay.
Some may be disappointed by the news that his next project will be based on a Disney child’s story, but this genre has already seen some great directors put their own twist on these classic fairytales, and it’s hard to disagree that Del Toro suits the project extremely well.
The biggest issue with this news, however, is the need to ask just how many times can the story of Beauty and the Beast be told? Daniel Barnz attempted to retell the story with his modern-day take with Beastly earlier last year, whilst two TV versions of the story are in the works at ABC and CW.
Only a few days ago, director Christophe Gans announced that he was soon to start shooting a film version of the story as well, which is set to star Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux.
So has the story already been told to death? Or can Del Toro bring it back to life before the genre of these fairytale re-imaginings get boring? I think it’s safe to say that he is sure to create something dark yet truly magical with his take on the popular story, so let’s hope for the latter.
The film is set up at Warner Bros. and although there’s no specific dates for filming yet, it’s likely to expect a 2014 release for the film, after the release of his more recent project, Pacific Rim, on 10th May, 2013.