The market for Y.A adaptations does not seem to be slowing any time soon; the pre-existing, hefty fan bases and range of up and coming young actors to cast allows these genre movies to be safe bets for the box office (with ready and waiting sequels to open up franchise possibilities). Universal have been quick to acquire Y.A titles recently, with Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen in planning and snatching up the rights to Lauren Oliver’s Panic before it was even written.
Another project, Colleen Oakes’ Alice In Wonderland themed Queen Of Hearts is now too gaining momentum – as a script writer (one who is no stranger to this genre) has been secured for the film adaptation.
Oakes’ book series began with “Queen Of Hearts: The Crown” and there are two sequels planned. Similar to the Wizard of Oz prequel/re-imagining Wicked, Queen of Hearts retells a classic story from the perspective of the villain. The origin story of Princess Dinah growing up in Wonderland explores the darker facets of this fairy tale realm and extends sympathy for the lead role, allowing the character to become a misunderstood anti-hero. Other familiar characters featured are the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit and Dinah will have a love interest: Wardley, the future Knave Of Hearts.
The Queen of Hearts film adaptation will be overseen by Universal’s director of development Sara Scott, while Deadline is reporting that Oakes’ source material will be turned into a screenplay by Maze Runner scribe Grant Pierce Myers. In addition, Myers is working on a Warner Bros. heist movie and earlier this year it was reported by THR that Myers is adaptation yet another dystopian future novel – Peter Liney’s “The Detainee” – for Thunder Road.
Re-imagining fairy tale is a common practice nowadays; Disney covered the concept of humanizing the villain with Maleficent, while Snow White And The Huntsman and Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters presented their subjects from a more sinister angle. Juxtaposing evil against innocence is a device that gives ample opportunity for both visual and psychological metaphors that add richness of meaning to these familiar stories. Something else that is becoming a well used fantasy theme is the Y.A female protagonist, bravely fighting the authority within her oppressing society (see Disney and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland).
Will the Alice in Wonderland perspective of Queen Of Hearts – combined within the Y.A formula – be enough to set its movie adaptation above the mundane in a swiftly flooding market? That remains to be seen, but will in part depend on who ends up directing the project and bringing Wonderland to life (again). Beyond that, it seems that fans of YA stories will have plenty of options to choose form, even after The Hunger Games wraps up later this year.
We’ll bring you more information on Queen Of Hearts as it becomes available.