Fan-favorite screenwriter Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, The Woman in Black) and director Tim Burton are joining forces on an adaptation of Ransom Rigg’s popular 2011 novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The project is slated to reach theaters in March next year, so the cast is quickly being finalized right now ahead of production starting within the next couple months.
Miss Peregrine’s Home is a dark fantasy about Jacob, a sixteen-year old who (following a familial tragedy) goes investigating the dilapidated remains of the eponymous location: an institution that once housed children possessing mysterious and possibly dangerous abilities… and, as it turns, may not be abandoned, as so many believe it to be. Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game) is playing Jacob in Burton’s film, while Eva Green (who costarred in Burton’s Dark Shadows reboot) will bring Miss Peregrine to life.
Deadline is reporting that Samuel L. Jackson has entered talks to costar in the Miss Peregrine’s Home adaptation as Mr. Barron, Jacob’s former school bus driver who… well, let’s just say the character might have a few secrets of his own. Jackson is currently in the midst of production on Quentin Tarantino’s new western The Hateful Eight, so Burton’s movie will be the next item on his to-do list thereafter. The Oscar-nominee will also be appearing onscreen this month in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service comic book adaptation – which, as it were, was co-written for the screen by Goldman.
Green aside, Miss Peregrine’s Home is shaping up to be the second project in a row where Burton directs a cast of people he has not collaborated with before, following his late 2014 release Big Eyes. The latter, which is a Golden Globe-winning memoir about the 1950s pop artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), has gotten Burton back in good graces with critics overall (read our review), so it’s refreshing to see him continue to mix things up a little. That includes working with Goldman, whose shared love of the strange and paranormal makes her a natural collaborator for the filmmaker.
The Miss Peregrine’s Home source material – a novel that combines the written word with vintage photographs depicting children said to posses unusual powers – isn’t exactly outside Burton’s wheelhouse as a storyteller, with its focus on death and the supernatural, as well as themes about social prejudices and young outsiders. Having said that, no one really expects Burton to re-invent himself as an artist; they just want to see him get away from the hollow big-budget ventures he’s worked on over the past decade (Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, etc.).
Indeed, Miss Peregrine’s Home could build on the momentum Burton gained from Big Eyes and prove to be another memorable addition to body of macabre, off-beat work. If so, that will raise both expectations and interest in Burton reuniting with Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder for Beetlejuice 2 – which, based on what we’ve heard of late, may finally happen after Burton finishes post-production on his adaptation of Rigg’s book.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children opens in U.S. theaters on March 4th, 2016.