There’s nothing unusual about a situation where multiple film adaptations of the same public domain novel enter development simultaneously, but what is curious about the batch of Peter Pan movies that’s currently in the oven is that most of them are prequels and/or origin stories for the boy who never grew up. Right now, no less than three such projects – either directly based upon and/or inspired by author/playwright J.M. Barrie’s work – are brewing in Hollywood.
Acclaimed English filmmaker Joe Wright has entered negotiations to direct Pan, the Peter Pan-inspired movie that Warner Bros. is currently putting together. Greg Berlanti (Arrow) is producing the project through his Berlanti Productions banner, while WB executive Sarah Schechter serves as the main overseer and prioritizes the project in order to get it done faster (and, in the process, beat out the competition).
THR reports that the Pan script was penned by actor-turned writer Jason Fuchs, who made his feature-writing debut on Ice Age: Continental Drift and has been working on bringing Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain park attraction to the small screen. While THR sums up Pan as an project that gives the title character “the Batman Begins treatment,” Deadline goes a bit more in depth and says the storyline revolves around an orphan taken to Neverland, “where he becomes the savior of the natives and leads a rebellion against the evil pirates.”
Other Peter Pan-inspired movies currently making their way down the pipeline include the prequel adventure Peter and the Starcatchers – with Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) attached to direct the adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s popular novel – and Neverland, another Pan origin movie that Channing Tatum and producer Joe Roth (Oz the Great and Powerful) are backing.
Tatum and Roth’s project was originally known as Peter Pan Begins, before it was renamed Pan and then Neverland. The script written by Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) reportedly adds some meaty substance to the longtime rivalry between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, by revealing that the pair are brothers who – thanks to the magic of Neverland – ended up separated by time and space, as only one of them actually became a full-grown man.
Ray’s screenplay is good enough to have attracted interest from Gavin O’Connor (Warrior). However, when the latter jumped onboard to take over direction on Jane Got a Gun at the last minute, this particular return trip to Neverland ended up being put on the back burner.
Pan isn’t the only classic fantasy literature adaptation that Wright is giving thought to making his next directorial effort, as the followup to his Oscar-winning Anna Karenina movie adaptation (starring one of his muses, Keira Knightley). In fact, earlier this year Wright was reported to be getting ready to make The Little Mermaid, a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that Wright’s been attached to direct for a while, based on a script written by Abi Morgan (Shame) and revised by Kelly Marcel (writer on the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks and the Fifty Shades of Grey movie).
Wright is renowned for his ability to breathe new life into stories that’ve been told (and re-told) countless time before onscreen, be it with his more traditional Pride & Prejudice adaptation or his heightened stylistic treatment of Anna Karenina. Similarly, Wright earned high marks for Hanna (starring his other muse, Saoire Ronan) – which reappropriates the princess fairy tale as a Bourne-esque thriller – and reads as being a worthy choice to try and create a vision of Neverland that’s unlike any we’ve seen before.
Let us know if you’re interested in seeing Wright direct Pan, if one of the other aforementioned Peter Pan movies sounds more interesting, or if you’ve already gotten your fill of stories about Neverland.
We’ll keep you posted on Pan as more information is made available.