Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, The Milk is described as “A story of time travel and breakfast cereal”. The whimsical children's novel is a tale of aliens, pirates and a time-traveling, hot air balloon-riding stegosaurus - but it's mostly about what happens when Dads are left in charge of the kids. Gaiman's iconically stylized fantasy novels adapt wonderfully into on screen adaptations and Fortunately is the latest of the author's works reported to be receiving movie treatment.
When novels loved as much as Gaiman's travel into screen territory, the existing fan base can be very opinionated concerning who will be handling the beloved work in question. In this case, the news that Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland) and Edgar Wright (The World's End) will be collaborating to bring Fortunately to life will likely alleviate some doubts.
Fortunately follows the story of an average Dad who goes out to buy milk and has an outlandish adventure tale to justify why it took him quite so long. However Dad's retelling of events may be questionable as he weaves items from his environment into the story like a parental Keyser Soze. Gaiman's official synopsis from his website is as follows:
“This is quite possibly the most exciting adventure ever to be written about milk since Tolstoy's epic novel War and Milk. Also it has aliens, pirates, dinosaurs and wumpires in it (but not the handsome, misunderstood kind), also a never-adequately-explained-bowl-of-piranhas, not to mention a Volcano God.”
This project is set up at 20th Century Fox and will star and be produced by Depp, and directed by Wright. They will be working from a screenplay adapted by Bret McKenzie of Flight of The Conchords fame. Also producing are Animal Logic Entertainment (The LEGO Movie) as Fortunately will be a live action/animation hybrid (according to THR) - a device which is fairly rare in general, but most predominant within children's films.
Gaiman's past works adapted for film include Stardust, Coraline, and the American Gods TV series currently in the works at Starz. Depp has proven adept at aiming his brand of kooky characterization towards family friendly roles, such as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Alice In Wonderland and upcoming sequel Alice Through The Looking Glass. Wright is best known for directing Simon Pegg's comical Cornetto trilogy (Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End) and McKenzie has been putting his comedic and musical talents to use recently, writing music for the children's genre in The Muppets movies.
Gaiman's stories comically explore the eccentric and extraordinary with a tone almost satirically matter-of-fact. Now that the equally eccentric Depp is on board, it seems extraordinary that the actor has not appeared in a Gaiman movie before. Depp and Wright were once planning to collaborate on a Night Stalker reboot, but it seems this project will mark their first time working together instead - and could create the perfect level of fantastical whimsy.
We will keep you informed about news of Fortunately, The Milk as the project develops.