Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Article: 10 Children’s Stories Guillermo Del Toro Needs to Adapt

This is an older article from the discerning folks at Flavorwire, but still very relevant! It seems that we are in an age where if you are a book, you need to become a movie. If you are a play, you need to become a movie. And in the case of something like The Producers or Hairspray, you need to be a movie, then a play then a movie of the play version. It was recently annouced that Guillermo del Toro was adapting The Secret Garden for the screen with screenwriter Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild). This lead to Flavorwire creating a top 10 list of children's stories they would like to see del Toro adapt. As we continue the fairy tale movie adaptation extravaganza of the past few years, (del Toro is also adapting Beauty and the Beast),  Flavorwire adds some alternative, and very exciting fairy tales to the list! Since del Toro believes that children's stories should “actually try and create a sense of darkness,” these would be perfect for him. (Complete post)

From the list:

Baba Yaga
"THE STORY: A recurring witch-like figure in Russian folklore, Baba Yaga, lives in the forest in a wooden hut standing on top of giant chicken legs and surrounded by a fence of human bones and skulls. Not content to be like other witches, she flies around in a mortar (using a pestle as her rudder, a broom to sweep away her tracks) and is not entirely good, nor evil, and is as prone to kidnapping children as she is to helping wandering souls.
WHAT DEL TORO SHOULD DO WITH IT: Baba Yaga’s living arrangements and mode of transportation alone are the kind of thing you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a del Toro movie. If he makes children the protagonists and keeps Yaga her morally ambiguous self (maybe less kidnapping, more tenuous team-up) this could be a good chance for him to make his own unique witch story and/or Hansel and Gretel reinvention. Because someone has to wipe Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters out of our minds."

The Red Shoes
"THE STORY: A spoiled and proud little girl gets fancy red ballet shoes that she refuses to take off in inappropriate places. As punishment when she starts to dance she can’t stop. Her adoptive mother dies, she injures her legs, an angel sentences her to dance forever even after she’s dead, and she has her feet chopped off to no avail. But she finds religious humility in the end, and it all works out.
WHAT DEL TORO SHOULD DO WITH IT: It might seem intimidating to share film title and inspiration with a Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger movie. Like The Archers’, del Toro will also have to find a way to navigate away from the basic repetitive “girl can’t stop dancing, just like Kevin Bacon in that Footloose scene” nature of the story. The overt religious message (she’s basically punished for wearing gaudy shoes in church) might need to be tempered too – though one can’t help but imagine the Angel of Death from Hellboy 2 being the one visiting the girl." 

The Wild Swans
"THE STORY: A witch marries a widowed king and proceeds to turn her eleven stepsons into swans and gives them the boot. She tries to turn the sister into a swan too, but it doesn’t work because she’s too good, so she has to settle for banishment. Her brothers whisk her away where she meets a fairy queen who tells if she takes a vow of silence and knits nettles into shirts, they’ll help her siblings become human again. A king falls in love with her, she’s suspected by his archbishop of being a witch, she’s almost burned at the stake, but then manages to finish the shirts in time to save her brothers and herself.
WHAT DEL TORO SHOULD DO WITH IT: We’re not even sure del Toro would have to do much here since it’s already so clearly right up his alley. Give it a modern setting in the same way he fused fairy tale with Franco-era Spain in Pan’s Labyrinth, tinge the whole thing with a bit more darkness, and you practically have a kind of spiritual sequel to Pan’s."

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