Production has commenced on director Bryan Singer's contribution to the ever-growing pile of upcoming Hollywood fairy tale "re-imaginings", Jack the Giant Killer. This new take on Jack and the Beanstalk turns the story about a boy and his magic beans into a more epic yarn involving romance, conspiracy, multi-headed monsters, and the possibility of war between humankind and giants.
Ian McShane has now signed on for the film and will portray the regal King Brahmwell - a character bound to be kinder (and possess better hygiene) than McShane's Blackbeard in this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Heat Vision confirmed the involvement of McShane, who has led an eclectic but impressive film career for almost fifty years now. He's the latest sturdy addition to the cast of Jack the Giant Killer, joining Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy, John Kassir, and Stanley Tucci. Nicolas Hoult (X-Men: First Class) and Eleanor Tomlinson will play the young leads.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie is reuniting with his Usual Suspects director for the third time with Jack the Giant Killer, which begins with the young princess Isabella (Tomlinson) fleeing her kingdom in rebellion against her father (McShane) and his plans for her future. Isabella thereafter meets the simple son of a farmer, Jack (Hoult), and romantic sparks immediately fly between the two.
But fairy tale love never comes easy, and soon Isabella has seemingly been kidnapped by a two-headed giant (Kassir and Nighy). Jack sets out with the captain of the guard (McGregor) to rescue the princess, but risks breaking a long-standing peace between humans and giants in the process - which may be exactly what King Brahmwell's shady advisor (Tucci) has wanted all along.
Jack the Giant Killer reads almost like the sort of "fairy tale retold" that Disney would've made as an animated feature back during the 1990s. The humble hero, the princess who yearns to live her own life, the devious figure scheming to conquer the kingdom for himself, the fantastical creature who is not as dangerous as everyone might think - throw in some musical numbers and pop culture humor, and Jack the Giant Killer could be a mix of Aladdin and Hercules.
McQuarrie and Singer presumably have something more creative and adult-minded than that with their Jack the Giant Killer. They've assembled quite the motley crew of admirable character actors and up-and-coming talents to star in the feature, which should also boast some fantastical settings and imaginative creatures.
If nothing else, give the filmmakers behind Jack the Giant Killer credit for aiming to tell a classic story in a more elaborate and yet still traditional fashion that doesn't look to cater to a specific demographic - like, say, the tween girl crowd (Red Riding Hood, looking at you).
Jack the Giant Killer is expected to hit theaters in 2012. We'll let you know when there's an official release date.