Paul Feig will direct the movie adaptation of The Sweetest Fig, a children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, the author who also wrote Jumanji and Polar Express. Feig is part of a package deal with Fox that will bring The Sweetest Fig to life on the big screen.
The Sweetest Fig is about a wealthy dentist, Bibot, who lives in Paris with his dog, Marcel, an animal Bibot often mistreats. A poor woman comes to Bibot's house in need of a tooth extraction, but she cannot pay him money for his services. He performs the operation with pliers and does little to lessen her pain. In payment, though, she offers him two figs, promising that they will make his dreams come true. Bibot scoffs at the notion, but still eats one of the figs in the middle of the night. His dream comes true, but not in the way he hopes: he appears in front of the Eiffel Tower in nothing but his underwear. He vows to do better with the second fig and makes a note to imagine himself becoming even more wealthy before eating it. However, Marcel ends up eating the fig: Bibot wakes up the next morning lying under the bed, having now switched bodies with the abused dog.
Deadline reports that Feig will direct the adaptation of The Sweetest Fig as part of a deal that Van Allsburg made with William Teitler, Mike Weber and Ted Field. Feigco's Jessie Henderson will produce the project.
Most moviegoers know Feig through his previous work, including his reboot of Ghostbusters. That film included an all-female leading cast, which proved controversial well before the movie ever went into production. Although the movie had many positive reviews from fans and critics, many people continued to criticize it. The backlash seemed to hurt its chances at the box office: Ghostbusters only took in $229.1 million worldwide. The controversy surrounding the film ultimately failed it: Feige recently said he felt the movie ended up feeling like "a cause," which was not his intent.
Feig's previous film work includes R-rated material, such as Bridesmaids, Spy and The Heat. His television work is also more adult-oriented: he has directed episodes of Nurse Jackie, Weeds and Arrested Development. It's surprising that Allsburg struck a deal with Feig for what is, essentially, a children's story. Perhaps The Sweetest Fig will offer a new kind of challenge to the director. Feig is more than capable of bringing the quirkiness of the book to life.
We will bring you more details on The Sweetest Fig as they become available.