Good news just in time for Halloween: Director Henry Selick, the stop-motion maestro behind Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and James and the Giant Peach, is doing a fairy tale movie! Or, to be more accurate, a movie based on a book based on fairy tales.
But don’t work yourself into a tizzy quite yet, Claymation fans. Because A Tale Dark & Grimm has one major difference from those other three Selick movies I mentioned: It’ll be live-action.
This new movie will be based on the popular children’s book by Adam Gidwitz in which Hansel and Gretel escape their own fairy tale only to find themselves trucking through eight others. Via the book’s official synopsis:
“An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.”
And says Selick:
“I remain completely enraptured by Adam Gidwitz’ marvelous book A Tale Dark & Grimm. It’s a hilarious, deeply inventive tale about survival in the world of fairytales and what it takes to forgive one’s parents. So it’s a huge thrill to be joining the team of Kamala Films and FilmNation as the director of the film based on it.”
Sounds excellent, even if the lack of stop-motion makes me sad. There needs to be more stop-motion. No, there needs to be all the stop-motion. Guess who’s watching ParaNorman again tonight?
Selick’s done live-action before: His less-than-critically-loved Monkeybone was mostly live-action, and James and the Giant Peach had some sequences with flesh-and-blood actors. And there might be an upside to him going back to it. As a director he’s well-known for not being so good with, er, finishing movies. For every Coraline or James and the Giant Peach there’s a The Graveyard Book (which might still happen with another director; don’t panic, Neil Gaiman fans) or a whatever this Disney movie would have been. A major problem for him is getting behind schedule, which is an easy trap to fall into with stop-motion, where you’re moving models by hand and it can take hours of work just to get a minute or two of footage. So maybe moving into a less time-consuming medium means that there’s a better chance that Selick might actually finish this movie.
We can hope so, anyway. With all the many, many fairy tale movies and TV shows in the works, this could very well turn into the one I most look forward to. You still hold the top spot, Guillermo del Toro‘s Beauty and the Beast. For now.
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