By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 29, 2011 at 1:34AM
'Amelie' Helmer Also Developing Drama 'Red Leaves'
"Micmacs" may have been a minor disappointment from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet -- it's an enjoyable, but very slight piece of work -- but as the man behind "Delicatessen," "The City of Lost Children," "Amelie" and the under-rated "A Very Long Engagement," we're always excited to hear that the French helmer is working on something new. Never the most prolific of directors, word's been fairly quiet in the last two years, other than the director briefly being courted for the "Snow White" project now being made by Tarsem, but now news has come in that the director is developing two novel adaptations concurrently, at least one of which will see him work in the English language for the first time since 1997's misfire "Alien: Resurrection."
Variety report that Jeunet has acquired the rights to both Reif Larsen's 2009 novel "The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet" and Thomas H. Cook's crime tome "Red Leaves," and is planning both as directing vehicles in the future, with 'Spivet,' which will be in English, looking more likely to go first.
Jeunet is currently working with his "Amelie" co-writer Guillaume Laurant on the script for 'Spivet,' which involves a 12-year-old cartography enthusiast in an eccentric family, who travels across country hidden on board a freight train after being invited to the Smithsonian Institute.
That project sounds firmly within Jeunet's wheelhouse, but it's "Red Leaves" which sounds rather more intriguing: it's a dramatic tale of a teenage boy suspected of killing an 8-year-old girl, and the devastating effect it has on his family. It sounds very different, and much darker, than anything Jeunet's done before, and we're intrigued by the director moving out of his comfort zone to this degree.
It's possible that it could be in English as well: the novel is set in the States, and producer Eric Bromberg, who's working with Channing Tatum on a new version of "Peter Pan," is also involved. At the same time, it sounds like it'll be easier to transpose this to France that 'Spivet,' so it's feasible it could be Francified. Either way, it's good to hear Jeunet on the move again, and we look forward to further developments on both projects.