Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo are starring in Come Away, a fantasy drama that serves as a "prequel" to the fairy tales Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Neither Jolie nor Oyelowo are strangers to fantasy genre fare themselves; Jolie has played everything from Grendel's mother in the motion-capture Beowulf to Maleficent in Disney's live-action Sleeping Beauty re-telling. Oyelowo, meanwhile, only just provided the voice for "The It" in Disney and his Selma director Ava DuVernay's film version of A Wrinkle in Time earlier this year. Come Away, however, sounds very different from either actor's previous trips into the realms of fantasy.
In the world of Come Away, Peter and Alice were everyday siblings before they made their famous journeys to the fantasy realms of Neverland and Wonderland, respectively. Jolie and Oyelowo are starring in the film as Peter and Alice's parents, who begin spiraling downwards into despair after the death of their eldest son, prompting their remaining two children to try and save them from their gloomy fate. Come Away was further scripted by relative newcomer Marissa Kate Goodhill and will serve as the live-action directing debut for Brenda Chapman, the acclaimed co-helmer of DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt and Pixar's Brave.
According to Deadline, Chapman will begin filming Come Away in the UK before moving the shoot to Los Angeles this fall, at which point Jolie will join the production. Jolie, as it were, only began filming Disney's sequel Maleficent II in the UK this week, but won't be available to work on Come Away until principal photography wraps in a few months. Deadline also has official statements from Chapman and Goodwill regarding the film, with Goodwill praising her director for being a "singular storyteller" and Chapman singing the praises of Come Away's adult leads:
“Angelina and David are going to bring a beautiful chemistry and depth to this magical story, giving audiences a wonderful step outside the expected."
Based on the details in Deadline's report, Come Away sounds far more like an original story than a prequel to either Alice in Wonderland and/or Peter Pan in the traditional sense. Beyond that, Peter Pan already got a straight-forward prequel three years ago - in the form of Joe Wright's Pan - and Alice made her return to the big screen just two years back, via Disney's live-action sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Both films were critical and commercial disappointments anyway, so a fresher approach to the fairy tales that inspired them, a la Come Away, sounds all the better for it.
Further, Come Away is but the latest project that the Oscar-winning Jolie has signed on for of late, along with Maleficent II and Disney's The One and Only Ivan adaptation. Her return to acting is certainly welcome at that, and a collaboration with the ever busy (and talented) Oyelowo would be exciting news regardless of the project in question. Couple their involvement with Chapman behind the camera and an intriguing premise, and Come Away has the potential to make for a powerful fantasy parable about how people use their imaginations to battle such real-world demons as grief and emotional suffering.
We will bring you more details on Come Away as they become available.