In news you didn’t know you needed, but which is indeed fantastic: Disney has nabbed three-time Oscar nominee Lasse Hallstrom* to direct an upcoming live-action version of The Nutcracker. The move continues Disney pivot into more live-action movie fare, including the upcoming Beauty and the Beast, as well as a sequel to Mary Poppins (and of course, many, many other projects).
(*My auto-correct keeps changing his name to Masse Hailstorm, which is either a warning or just an awesome villain name)
THR is reporting that the new film will be titled The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and will of course be an adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s seminal ballet and its accompanying story, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Ashleigh Powell will pen the script, which she has been developing for two years until Disney decided to move forward with it last year. Powell had her spec for the movie Somacell picked up in 2012, and it’s now at Warner Bros. with David S. Goyer producing. See, dreams can come true!
As for Hallstrom, what is there to say except that he’s directed three of my favorite movies (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, and The Cider House Rules) and many more, and he has a lush visual style that should perfectly compliment the Nutcracker’s fantasy tale setting.
For those unfamiliar, Hoffmann’s 1816 tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is the story of a young girl who receives a nutcracker toy for Christmas, which comes alive at the stroke of midnight, and sweeps her away into a land populated by dolls (some people’s dream, some people’s nightmare) where she becomes embroiled in a war between gingerbread soldiers and a mouse army. Tchaikovsky adapted it with music and choreography in 1892, and is become one of the most famous compositions and ballets in the world.
There have been some former attempts at Nutcracker movies before, including by Disney in a very loosely-based Mickey Mouse re-telling. Most have gone directly to video or been forgotten, though recently there have been some attempts to revive the story in live-action form from New Line and and Universal. But the Mouse House, fittingly, seems to be the one who will bring it back to life.