If this year is going to be the year of revisionist Snow White tales (what with both Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror hitting screens, and that Order of Seven film still getting worked out), then next year is already shaping up to be the year of new takes on Beauty and the Beast. Perhaps it would be wise to mark your calendars for 2014 – which will certainly be the year of Little Mermaid remakes, should this trend continue.
Just last week, word from Berlin revealed that Brotherhood of the Wolf helmer Christophe Gans had set Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux to topline his new Beauty and the Beast project. With that project, Gans has promised to “keep to a form of storytelling of this timeless fairy tale that is in keeping with the same pace and characters as the original… [and] surprise the audience by creating a completely new visual universe never experienced before and produce images of an unparalleled quality.” Sounds good! The film will also be “based on one of the earliest published variants of the traditional fairy tale, included in Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s 1740’s collection, ‘La Jeune Ameriquaine et les Contes Marins.'” Also, great news!
But maybe not so great for Guillermo Del Toro, who has just signed on to direct yet another take on the classic fairy tale. While his film (which he was previously attached to only as a producer) will likely boast Emma Watson as Belle (she’s in final negotiations for the role) and a Del Toro-penned treatment for the screenplay, it will also have a final screenplay from…the guy who wrote Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers? One of these things is not like the other.
Screenwriter Andrew Davies‘ previous projects certainly embrace the period sensibility of a Beauty and the Beast film (what with his work on, take a big breath for this one, the Little Dorrit miniseries, Brideshead Revisited, a Sense & Sensibility miniseries, a Northanger Abbey television film, and the Bleak House miniseries in the last ten years alone, in addition to his work on both Bridget Jones’s Diary films). But all that soapy stuff is just that, kind of soapy, and a Guillermo Del Toro-directed anything, especially a film about a young lady who is all but captured by a true beast of a man, should be as far from “soapy” as possible.
Yet, perhaps a Del Toro-scripted treatment will guide Davies into the correct direction, and this film could be as fantastic as its other talent hints at. Here’s hoping!