Disney is ever adding to its planned lineup of fairy tale remakes, both with updates of its own animated classics and revisionist takes on other stories from the fairy tale canon. The most recently rumored project sees the company revising the story of Jack and the Beanstalk with the creators of the television hit Breaking Bad behind the wheel, according to a report from Deadline.
Deadline said that the film, titled Beanstalk, was bought by Disney based on a detailed idea from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan. Gilligan has hired Thomas Schnauz, a winner of two Emmys for his writing on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, to pen the script. Deadline added that Gilligan is looking at this as a potential project to direct, though that’s not set in stone. He’s also listed as one of the producers.
Jack and the Beanstalk is an English fairy tale that made its first known appearance in print in 1807. It tells the strange story of a young boy who acquires magic beans that grow a giant beanstalk. Jack then climbs the beanstalk and discovers a giant living at the top with his wife. There Jack also discovers, and steals, some treasures, including a goose that lays golden eggs.
Disney hasn’t been afraid to go weird and dark in its fairy tale revisions, as people can’t seem to get enough of the stories even all these hundreds of years after we’ve been hearing them over and over in various forms. Last year’s Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, retold Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the titular wicked witch and featured some pretty dark aesthetics and themes, as well as a strong dose of feminism.
The movie was also one of the highest-grossing of the year, having made $758 million worldwide during its run in theaters, and it has added much fuel to Disney’s live-action fairy tale remake fervor.
The company recently announced that it’s enlisting Tim Burton to direct a reboot of the animated classic Dumbo. He is another typically dark director the company is giving the go-ahead to work on children’s material. Burton’s slightly dark version of Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, grossed $1 billion in 2010, per Box Office Mojo, and has been cited as kicking off the live-action fairy tale remake trend. It proved that audiences can handle a creepy take on these familiar stories.
While the creators behind the very dark and very adult TV show Breaking Bad might seem like a weird fit for a Disney movie, the “we’re going to do a dark take on this” trend makes sense for the project. Given that Breaking Bad is considered one of the greatest shows of all time, and its spinoff, Better Call Saul, has received rave reviews for its first season — NPR says it’s as good as the show it was spun off from — Disney could do much worse than to put these guys in charge of a fairy tale revision.
This isn’t the first time that Disney has taken on this particular fairy tale, though it has been a while. Walt Disney made an animated short of the story in 1922, and the company created a version starring Mickey Mouse called Mickey and the Beanstalk in 1947. Perhaps in this version, the giant will be a scary drug dealer living at the top of the beanstalk.
Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS