Bill Willingham’s beloved Fables comic book series is once again up for a big screen adaptation, with Nikolaj Arcel set direct a script from Jeremy Slater, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This isn’t the first attempt to get Willingham’s creation up on a big screen, but the fact that David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford of Heyday Films – the British production company behind the Harry Potter series – are involved is reason to be hopeful.
Arcel is a Danish filmmaker who recently came to Hollywood after finding success with 2012’s A Royal Affair, which picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Langauge Film. He is also known for his work on the screenplay from the original 2009 Danish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Slater is a relative newcomer in Hollywood; his only major writing credit at this point is for Chronicle director Josh Trank’s in-development adaptation of The Fantastic Four.
Fables, created in 2002, was previously in the hands of Warner Bros. and the Jim Henson Company, but that project never progressed beyond the writing stage and disappeared in 2004. Subsequent years saw various attempts at bringing the series to television, on NBC and ABC, but both networks ultimately moved on to develop the suspiciously similar Grimm and Once Upon a Time, respectively.
The only successful attempt at adapting Fables for another medium thus far is in the realm of video games. The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games is currently working on an episodic prequel treatment called The Wolf Among Us. The story is set prior to the events of the comics, and early reports suggest that it lays the foundation for a number of the comic series’ major story arcs.
Willingham’s series follows a group of fairy tale characters and folk heroes after they’ve been cast out of their homelands by a malevolent being known only as The Adversary. The exiled Fables, as the beings are known, establish new places to live in New York City and upstate New York, where they try to carve out a new life for themselves while hiding the truth of their existence from the mundane – or Mundy, as it is known – world.
We’ll be seeing The Wolf Among Us next week at E3. Don’t expect any insights into Heyday’s movie plans, but anything that leads to a richer and more fleshed out Fables universe isn’t a bad thing. If you’d like to learn more about Willingham’s creation, check out our recent rundown of major characters and relationships.