Hearing any new details about the upcoming Peter Pan movie can be a little confusing, because there are actually multiple Peter Pan movies currently at various stages of development. It's one of the perils of well-loved stories that are in the public domain. The Peter Pan movie that seems to be winning the race, however, is Warner Bros' version, with director Joe Wright (The Soloist) at the helm.
Casting on the film has been ongoing for the past few months, with various names thrown into the mix including Ryan Gosling and Javier Bardem, and Warner Bros has already set a release date for summer 2015.
Thanks to the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, pirates are back in style and extra pirates are being thrown into Wright's film just to make the whole affair as piratey as possible. Those pirates are also the first to be cast as Deadline has confirmed that Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine) will be playing the role of Blackbeard, and THR reports that Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) has been cast as Hook.
A fresh-faced 29 year-old like Hedlund probably isn't what most people have in mind when they hear the name Captain James Hook, but Wright's film is actually a prequel to J. M. Barrie's original story rather than an adaptation of it. In this version, Pan and Hook are close friends despite Hook working on the crew of Blackbeard's ship. Jackman, meanwhile, will be playing the villain role and presumably corrupting young Hook along the way. It's rare to see Jackman playing an all-out bad guy, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches it.
This particular material is also a step outside of Wright's usual comfort zone, as his resume so far largely consists of more serious drama films like Atonement, Pride and Prejudice and Hanna. With that in mind, his recent adaptation of Anna Karenina brought out more surreal and stylized elements of his vision, as the film was framed by the central concept of a theatre stage and transitioned between scenes in a style similar to a play, with setpieces being moved and changed around the actors. It would be great to see that kind of creativity applied to a much-told story like Peter Pan.
Joe Wright's Untitled Peter Pan Movie is set for release on July 17, 2015.