It’s not like Alice in Wonderland producer Joe Roth is solely responsible for Hollywood’s newfound obsession with “re-imagining” classic literature – but the fact that Roth is connected to another project of that ilk – with the self-explanatory title Peter Pan Begins – makes it easy to point the finger of blame at the man.
Roth, along with actor Channing Tatum and screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games), are part of the package for the Peter Pan origin pic, which has been pitched to studios and should be picked up soon.
Heat Vision is the source of this news, and its comment about how Hollywood executives are “moving beyond comic books and toys and on to classic literature reading lists” is putting it mildly. Next week will see the release of Red Riding Hood, followed by The Three Musketeers in October, and then the sequel to another “updated” literary adaptation, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows this December.
That’s not to mention the multiple Wizard of Oz pics (which include the Roth-produced Oz, the Great and Powerful), three different Snow White movies, a new version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame from Tim Burton, AND a twisted retelling of Pinocchio as devised by Guillermo del Toro. Granted, some of these projects actually sound very cool, but really, it is possible to have too much of a good (or not so good) thing.
The imaginative realm of Neverland, as originally conceived by J.M. Barrie, has been brought to life many times onscreen before, and it’s more than a little difficult to argue that we need another Peter Pan flick. As for the idea of exploring Pan’s origins – Steven Spielberg in part covered that territory with Hook, but a more extensive look into how that ageless lad ended up with The Lost Boys and engaged in a lifelong battle against Captain Hook and his pirates… is anyone really that curious to learn those nitty gritty details?
Tatum’s involvement in Peter Pan Begins is kind of strange at first glance, but he could be a proper candidate to portray a young Hook, in terms of his physical prowess and fighting capability (as for his acting, well…). That’s assuming the screenplay doesn’t simply “refashion” Pan as being an adult man who grows younger upon arrival in Neverland – or something contrived like that. Tatum fans will surely flock to see the movie if he’s dressed in tights, so it’s not that difficult to imagine the filmmakers coming up with some excuse for it.
Billy Ray can boast about a solid screenwriting resume, which includes the scripts for Shattered Glass, Breach, and State of Play, along with the (hopefully, good) upcoming Hunger Games adaptation – so maybe his Peter Pans Begins screenplay will provide a creative foundation for a journey into the famous character’s past. Best to not hold your breath, all the same.