Andy Serkis is like a one-man studio these days. After taking the industry by storm in his groundbreaking performance as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, he started his own company, The Imaginarium, and continued to push the boundaries, not just with performance capture (King Kong, The Adventures of Tintin, and The Planet of the Apes prequels), but in story-telling in general.
His latest project? According to The Tracking Board, Serkis intends to produce, direct and star in a live action take on Rumpelstiltskin, currently titled Steelskin for Fox. Hossein Amini (Drive, Snow White and the Huntsman, 47 Ronin) is attached to write the screenplay.
The old German fairy tale is the story of a miller’s daughter who makes a deal with the devil (or, in this case, a small imp-like creature) in order to spin straw into gold for the king. Once the imp returns to collect what he’s owed for helping her, the two enter into a new deal where if she can guess his name, then she won’t have to give him what was promised.
Like many old fairy tales, the story has a darkness at it’s core and the few details that are known about Serkis’ project indicate that he will play up that tone in his movie adaptation. This makes sense in a world where The Lord of the Rings itself set a new standard for darker, grittier fantasy films. Movies like Maleficent and Snow White and the Huntsman, not to mention television series like Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones, have proven that there is a growing appetite for these types of stories, so it’s no surprise that studios are looking back to old Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales for inspiration.
As for Serkis, he continues to push himself in areas outside a motion capture suit, as he worked as a second unit director on The Hobbit films and has two other films lined up to direct, his adaptations of The Jungle Book (titled Jungle Book: Origins) and Animal Farm. Rumpelstiltskin appears to be right up his alley in terms of tone, as well as the chance to continue showcasing what he has pioneered as a filmmaker in terms of motion capture.
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