Over the past few years, two of the biggest trends in blockbuster filmmaking have been making movies based on comic books and making movies based on fairy tales. Because of this, it’s seemed a might bit strange that “Fables,” a title published by DC’s more experimental and arty line of books, Vertigo, has had such a hard time getting adapted for the screen. Not only does creator Bill Willingham’s comic series utilize characters like Snow White, Prince Charming, and the Big Bad Wolf, but it brings them into our world, gives them sexy updates, and it’s won a whole heap of awards for its storytelling, to boot. Sounds like the perfect property to turn into a movie, don’t you think?
Well, Harry Potter producers, Heyday Films, seem to think so too, because Heat Vision is reporting that they’ve acquired the film rights to Willingham’s work, and they’ve hired the guy who’s writing the new Fantastic Four movie, Jeremy Slater, to come up with a script, as well as A Royal Affair helmer, Nikolaj Arcel, to direct.
The basic premise behind Fables is that all of the characters we know from all of those old fairytales we were told when we were kids have been forced out of the worlds they lived in by an evil dude called the Adversary, and they’ve been forced to take up residence here in our world. More specifically, the humanoid characters in these fairytales have all taken up residence in a NYC neighborhood they’ve dubbed Fabletown, while all of the more monstrous characters have been shipped off upstate to a place they call the Farm.
Willingham has been writing the series since 2002, and is now well over a hundred issues in, so there’s already plenty of material to build a franchise from if this initial Fables film proves to be a success. Even handier than that, the first few story-arcs that were published were all notable because they played with the tropes of a specific film genre, like the murder mystery, or the conspiracy thriller, so future Fables movies would have the benefit of not only being already mapped out, but also being different from one another in ways that would keep the storytelling fresh. Too often these big comic book or fairytale sequels fall into the trap of being been-there-done-that stories that are only different from their predecessors because they’ve had a couple more dollars thrown at their effects work.
All this talk about sequels is probably getting ahead of ourselves though. Fables has already been attempted to be brought to screens both big and small in deals that fell through before, so let’s wait to see if the Harry Potter people get a script they like and give Arcel the go-ahead to begin casting before we start counting our golden geese.