I’m a big fan of filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, which means I’m also a fan of his co-writer Jane Goldman, who has worked with him on all of his screenplays except for Layer Cake. Since Vaughn has done comic book movies ever since Kick-Ass, she knows how to adapt the medium, which is why I’m excited that she’s now taking a pass at the screenplay for Fables. Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) is currently attached to direct.
Bill Willingham‘s long-running comic started out as the story of fairy tale characters (called “fables”) who were forced to leave their homeland and live in secret in New York City when they were attacked by a mysterious foe known only as “The Adversary”. When it became clear that Willingham had started spinning his wheels, I dropped the book, but I enjoyed the first 45 issues and the versatility of the narrative, which spanned from a detective story in its opening arc to a war story as the book went on. Hit the jump for more.
While doing press for Paddington, producer David Heyman provided an update on the project to Comic Book Resources:
Can you sum up the essence of what you saw in it that made you get excited about translating it into film?
I’m drawn to stories about outsiders, and I think the Fables are outsiders. They’re people torn from the place where they were raised, by The Adversary. They arrive in a New York City-type place, and how we’re approaching is that they’re people who are all separate, and how they ultimately have to form the community in order to survive. They’re all inhabiting their own little universes within this world. But they have to form this community, and that really appealed to me. And I just think the characters are so vivid. And I also think the farm is, again, it’s very human. That’s what I like. It’s a challenging film.
While the first volume stuck to a mystery in New York City, the next volume went to “The Farm”, which is where non-human fables are forced to live much to their consternation since they have all the characteristics of a human being without the appearance. Naturally, this leads to conflict with the city-based fables and some disturbing relationships back at the Farm.
It’s a world filled with rich, interesting characters and a larger mystery that could be expanded into a franchise. At one point, ABC considered developing the comics into a TV series, but then moved on. In what I’m sure was a total coincidence, the network moved onto the similar Once Upon a Time as they probably realized that all the characters are public domain.