'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Writer & del Toro Team for 'Secret Garden'
by Ethan Anderton
February 5, 2013
Following an Oscar nomination for scripting Beasts of the Southern Wild, writer Lucy Alibar is teaming with producer Guillermo del Toro and Mark Johnson (who last teamed on Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) for a new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic book The Secret Garden. Considering how Alibar and del Toro tackled the idea of young children essentially living on their own and traversing their own special fantasy worlds. However, this new take on the story of an orphaned girl who is sent to live with her reclusive uncle and discovers a hidden garden containing magical secrets will be a bit different from previous adaptations as it will take place in the South, at the turn of the 20th century. So that's pretty cool.
For those who don't know the original story, here's the official synopsis:
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten.
It's been awhile since The Secret Garden hit theaters with the last adaptation coming in 1993 from director Agnieska Holland. Funnily enough, Johnson produced A Little Princess, a film by Alfonso Cuaron which is an adaptation of another book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. As of now, it's not clear who will direct. Deadlie says del Toro was interested, but it sounds like he's far too busy with a hefty future slate so that likely won't happen. For my money, I'd like to see Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis take on the lead girl role, maybe with Benh Zeitlin at the helm again. Stay tuned.