Hollywood is determined to strip mine every last bit of glitter out of the world’s fairy tales. Every whimsical tale is getting a dark and edgy makeover.
Yet Fables remains locked in NBC’s vault. Go figure. (Pre-established property, check. Fanbase, check. Comic book, check. Fairy tale deconstruction, check. But the big bucks don’t flow into my pocket.)
Peter Pan joins Snow White, The Wizard of Oz, and I forget what else in having several “reinterpretations” battling for dominance. Back in March, The Hollywood Reporter listed five Peter Pan projects kicking around Hollywood in various stages of completion. Has no one heeded the lesson of Hook?
Apparently not. But of those five one has emerged as a frontrunner: Pan. ScreenDaily reports that Aaron Eckhart, Sean Bean and AnnaSophia Robb are all attached to star. Pan (apparently) takes place entirely in the real world, and in the gritty, crime ridden 21st century. Eckhart plays a tormented detective named Hook who is on the trail of a evil childlike kidnapper named Pan. Bean will play Smee, the chief detective, and Eckhart’s only ally on the police force. Robb is Wendy, a survivor of Pan’s kidnapping, who leaves an asylum to assist in hunting him down.
Pan has been around for a long time. It was once at New Line with Guillermo Del Toro attached to direct. Now it’s at Essential Entertainment with Ben Hibon directing, and is pre-selling itself at Cannes.
There must be something in it for Del Toro to have once been interested, but that hook (pun not intended) is just so goddamn corny. You know how this would be cool? Abandon the stupid names and fairy tale angle, and just make it a good, old-fashioned police procedural. Come on! You have two rugged, tough, should-be-leading-men leads who are aging away for want of good adult thrillers. Have them play weary partners on the hunt of a creepy, high-voiced kidnapper who likes to leave copies of J.M.Barrie at the scene of his crimes. Audiences long for the dark, rain-drenched thrillers like we had in the 1970s and 1980s. They’re sick of seeing boys playing hardened cops. Give them Eckhart and Bean in a Silence of the Lambs type of thing, and watch the box office numbers climb.
This is the perfect chance to change a trend for the better. Or you could keep milking this idea that you’re convinced audiences have already bought into because of one Alice in Wonderland.