Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children combines the talents of both director Tim Burton and screenwriter Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black, Kingsman: The Secret Service) for a quirky fantasy/coming of age tale that is based on the best-selling novel of the same name written by Ransom Riggs. The movie follows 16-year old Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield) on his journey to find peace after his grandfather’s passing by visiting the abandoned orphanage (the film’s namesake) that his grandfather used to talk about. However, in doing so, Jacob thus discovers a hidden world where Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) watches over her “peculiars” – aka. children who posses seemingly magical abilities.
While Miss Peregrine’s Home marks the first collaboration between Burton and Goldman, the filmmaker has worked with Green before – namely, on his 2012 movie adaptation of the cult 1960s supernatural soap opera, Dark Shadows. It’s easy to guess why Burton decided to collaborate with Green again for his film take on Riggs’ novel (a literary work inspired by vintage photos of strange people and places that the author had collected), seeing as the Penny Dreadful star reads as a perfect fit for a character whom Burton describes as being a Mary Poppins-like magical caretaker… a stranger Mary Poppins, that is.
Burton, when he spoke to EW, referred to Green’s Miss Peregrine as being like “a scary Mary Poppins” and likewise told Empire that the character is a “weird Mary Poppins like character—a strong and mysterious person who looks like she could turn into a bird,” before he added simply “That’s Eva.” Miss Peregrine, in the story, is also a former student of Miss Avocet (Dame Judi Dench), and Burton gave the following insight on Dench’s character to Empire:
“In the peculiar world, women are the protectors. Miss Avocet is the head of another peculiar school. But, much like the bird in her name, she’s a bit more of a nervous, flighty energy than Miss Peregrine.”
You can check out the first official images from Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home film adaptation (which includes the likes of Butterfield, Green and Dench, among others) below, courtesy of EW and Empire:
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children also reunites Burton behind the camera with his Dark Shadows and Big Eyes cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, whose knack for creating glossy visuals through his film work (by utilizing soft shadows/focus shooting techniques) looks to serve Burton’s upcoming film well – in particular, during those scenes that take place in the fantastical setting where Miss Peregrine and the “Peculiars” live. Burton’s imagination tends to thrive the most when he’s working with practical sets and locations rather than digital backdrops, so the real-world backdrops in these Miss Peregrine’s Home images are also encouraging to see. The movie was filmed in such places as Belgium, England, and Florida, and Burton told EW that the break away from sound stages (on big-budget tentpoles like Alice in Wonderland) was a nice change of pace of him too:
“It was nice to shoot on location, to be connected to a place and geography while having people actually floating, as opposed to doing it all digitally.”
Between that, the talented cast that’s been assembled for Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children – which also includes such names as Allison Janney (Mom), Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent), and Samuel L. Jackson in a key role – and Goldman being the one who adapted Riggs’ novel in the first place, Burton’s movie has a good deal working in its favor. The filmmaker is also coming off one of his better-received films in recent years in Big Eyes, so his X-Men-esque tale of super-powered outsiders might yet prove to be another fine addition to his larger body of work – not to mention, another memorably weird, yet heartfelt Burton movie about the experience of being an “unusual” outcast in our world.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will open in U.S. theaters on September 30th, 2016.