Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hollywood loves free stories like Robin Hood, Tarzan and Pinocchio

Why does Hollywood love stories in the public domain?
Because they’re free.
Does Hollywood want to contribute anything to refresh the public domain?
Hell no! Media companies want to lock up our culture behind pay walls. They keep successfully lobbying Congress to extend the length of copyright periods, which are supposed to be limited.
Here are some more upcoming movies and TV shows based on works in the public domain.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Director David Fincher (“The Social Network” and “Seven”) is working on a film adaptation of the Jules Verne novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” first published in 1870. It is envisioned as a $200 million, 3-D underwater adventure movie, according to SlashFilm and Deadline.
Meanwhile, another studio is making a movie sequel to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” called “The Return of Captain Nemo.” It stars Hayley Atwell (“Captain America”), Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) and David Morrissey (“Red Riding”), Deadline says.

Futuristic takes on classic stories

One tactic that movie producers use to liven up dusty public domain novels is to set them in the future.
Scottish director Lynne Ramsay is working on a big-budget film adaptation of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel “Moby-Dick” set in outer space, according to the Playlist.
Warner Bros. is producing a futuristic version of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” a novel written by Alexandre Dumas and published in 1844, according to Variety. The work has been adapted many times and even was the inspiration for the new ABC drama “Revenge.”
Warner Bros. also has a futuristic Robin Hood movie in the works, according to Deadline. Commercials director Nicolai Fuglsig has been tapped to helm picture, which takes place in a “dystopian London.”
Robin Hood is a character of English folklore, with published versions dating back to the early 15th century.
Meanwhile, the Wachowski siblings (“The Matrix”) are making a modern-day urban Robin Hood movie called “Hood” for Warner Bros., the Hollywood Reporter says.
Director Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) is set to produce a sci-fi film that’s described as a futurist “Jungle Book” story, according to Deadline. Author Rudyard Kipling published “The Jungle Book” in 1894.

Tarzan

Director Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”) is hoping to film a period remake of “Tarzan of the Apes,” the 1912 adventure novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, according to IAmRogue.

Pinocchio

Three movies based on the 1883 children’s novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi are in the works.
Director Tim Burton (“Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands”) and Warner Bros. are courting actor Robert Downey Jr. to play Geppetto, the woodcarver who creates the puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Twentieth Century Fox is making a Pinocchio prequel called “The Three Misfortunes of Geppetto.” Shawn Levy (“Real Steel”) is set to direct, Deadline reports.
In addition to those live-action movies, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is working with the Jim Henson Company and Pathe on a 3-D stop-motion animated version of the tale. It’s described as edgier than the 1940 Disney animated classic “Pinocchio,” Deadline says. (See concept art above.)

Hercules

Director Brett Ratner (“Rush Hour” and “Tower Heist”) is working on a Hercules film for MGM. The movie would be based on the comic book “Hercules: The Thracian Wars,” Vulture reports. (See comic book cover above.) The story of Hercules is from Roman mythology, which is, of course, in the public domain.

The Little Mermaid

Sony Pictures is filming a version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” (1837). The movie will be an adaptation of the Carolyn Turgeon book “Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale,” Variety says.

The Nutcracker

Director Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) is directing a new feature film version of “The Nutcracker.” But his version will not include dancing.
“The film will draw from the original story ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which inspired the famed Tchaikovsky ballet,” EW wrote. Hoffman’s book was published in 1815.

The Invisible Man

Universal Pictures is looking to remake H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel “The Invisible Man,” the Los Angeles Times reports. Writer-director David S. Goyer is involved in the project.

King Arthur and Merlin

The saga of King Arthur, his knights of the round table and the wizard Merlin has been adapted for stage and screen time and again. Mostly recently, Starz aired its one-season series “Camelot” last year.
A couple of movies on the tale are in the works now.
Warner Bros. is making “Arthur & Lancelot,” starring Kit Harington and Joel Kinnaman, the Hollywood Reporter says. It’s pitched as a lighthearted action movie. Production is currently on hold because of budget issues.
Warner Bros. also is adapting the “The Lost Years of Merlin,” based on the first book in T.A. Barron’s 12-book fantasy series. It will be an origin story of the wizard from King Arthur’s time, the Hollywood Reporter says.

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