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Disney has been upping the ante in the edginess department lately. Maleficent, a revisionist take on Sleeping Beauty, will enter production this summer and now the Mouse House plans to make a film based on, well, the stuff of legend.
Deadline Hollywood brings word that Disney will adapt the Th3rd World graphic novel Stuff of Legend. Pete Candeland will sit in the director’s seat while Shawn Christensen takes over screenwriting duties. For almost a year, the two worked carefully on the pitch and visuals they hoped would win Disney over and succeeded.
“Legend” focuses on the plight of a boy’s puppy and toys as they venture to rescue their master from the Boogeyman, who took him into The Dark, a realm that exists inside of the closet. Epic battles ensue between our heroes and the Boogeyman’s armies. Think a somewhat modified combination of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Disney’s own film Toy Story. As was the case with Tim Burton’s Academy Award-winning fantasy Alice in Wonderland, Candeland “will make [Stuff of Legend] a live-action film set in a CGI world.”
Comic Book Resources has more info on the story:
“The World War II era book mixes pieces of its kidnapped boy's personality with some stark realities as the cast of toys that includes a dashing hero called The Colonel, an unyieldingly loyal teddy bear named Max and a cutthroat jack-in-the-box clown called Jester turn into flesh-and-blood people once they've crossed the closet door threshold into the Boogeyman's world.”
Candeland has worked in Disney’s animation department for direct-to-video sequels The Return of Jafar and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. Earlier in the year, he also signed on to make a film for the Mouse House based on its Disneyland Park attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Christensen’s mainly worked with short films, his only screenwriting credit for a feature film thus far being the Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction.
It’s worth noting the similarities between this and the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Rise of the Guardians, both of which imagine assumedly innocent and harmless heroes of children’s tales as fierce warriors. Revisionist fantasies such as these tend to be somewhat more exciting than the likes the upcoming Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters or the recently released Snow White and the Hunstman, as those stories already contain elements of danger and peril in their original forms.
Given that the making of the film was just announced, no actors are attached and no release date has been set for “Legend.” Even without too many details in place, it sounds like an incredibly risky yet exciting adventure for Disney.