By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 17, 2012 at 5:21PM
Right now, it's still unclear if the fairy tale movie is really going to end up being a potent force. While "Once Upon A Time" and "Grimm" have found fans on the small screen, in the cinema, "Alice in Wonderland" aside (and that's a film that's only really a fairy tale by the loosest definition of the word), none of the live-action reboots of classic folklore material, from "Red Riding Hood" to "Mirror Mirror," have gotten much traction with audiences. That could (and we suspect will) change in a couple of weeks when "Snow White And The Huntsman" opens, but the uncertainty hasn't stopped studios moving forward with a myriad of fairy tale projects: everything from "Beauty & The Beast" to "Cinderella" is in various stages of development.
And two projects that are close to happening look like they might have found some young British talent to add to their casts: Firstly, there's Guillermo Del Toro's stop-motion animated version of "Pinocchio." The director's been planning his take on the classic tale, which will feature music by Nick Cave, for some time, but only last week confirmed that he'll be co-directing the animated feature, with "Fantastic Mr. Fox" animation director Mark Gustafson. And today, the filmmaker spoke to interested parties in Cannes via satellite link about the project to help drum up sales, and revealed that Harry Potter himself might end up in the project.
According to the "Pan's Labyrinth" filmmaker, he was approached by Daniel Radcliffe, who's keen to get involved on the project, and the actor is one of a number of names that he hopes might become involved, including Tom Waits, and Christopher Walken, who Del Toro wants to play the fox. The helmer stressed that no deals have been made, but he must also be on relatively safe ground if he's willing to talk about it publicly. So could Radcliffe end up voicing the little wooden boy of the title? He'd certainly be a strong choice.
Elsewhere in the fairytale kingdom, Disney are soon to start filming on "Maleficent," their revisionist version of the tale of "Sleeping Beauty," and they've been assembling an impressive cast: Angelina Jolie will play the wicked title character, while Elle Fanning is the narcoleptic pretty face, and Sharlto Copley, Miranda Richardson, Kenneth Cranham and Sam Riley are on board as well. And they've just been joined by one of the fastest-rising stars around, as Heat Vision report that Juno Temple has also signed on to the project. Temple's been coming up since her early role in "Atonement," but between her stunning turn in "Killer Joe" and a top-secret part in "The Dark Knight Rises," her star's only getting bigger and brighter, and this is the latest confirmation of that.
Temple will play Thistletwit, one among the trio of pixies who care for Princess Aurora while she's having her extended nap, with Mike Leigh stalwarts Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake") and Lesley Manville ("Another Year") playing her companions, Knotgrass and Flittle (they're presumably the equivalents to Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from the 1959 Disney animation version). We've got a long way to go before we feel secure about this film, given that the script comes from Linda Woolverton, writer of the atrocious "Alice in Wonderland," and that the director, Robert Stromberg, is a first-time helmer, albeit one with years of production experience behind him, but the cast that's been assembled is certainly promising, and Temple's certainly the cherry on top. "Maleficent" will open on March 14, 2014, with "Pinocchio" following some time in the same year. [THR/Heat Vision]
Oh, and speaking of Radcliffe, remember that tabloid rumor a few weeks back, that he'd be playing the younger version of Jon Hamm in a British miniseries? It turns out they were legit: Variety reports that Radcliffe and the "Mad Men" star have officially signed onto "The Young Doctor's Notebook," which adapts a collection of short stories by "The Master & Margarita" author Mikhail Bulgakov, set during the Russian Revolution. The two will even interact in a series of 'bleakly comic exchanges.' Hamm's Point West Productions are behind the film, along with Big Talk, the company which produced "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "Attack The Block," among others, so the project is in good hands. The show will air on Sky Arts in the U.K, with no U.S. broadcaster yet confirmed.