Twenty years after The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick adapted Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel James and Giant Peach into a stop-motion animated film, Walt Disney Studios is adding the property to its ever-growing list of live-action remakes. Deadline reports that Skyfall director Sam Mendes has entered into early negotiations to develop and direct the film – talks are said to be in the “very early” stages – with Brooklyn scribe Nick Hornby penning the screenplay.
The story centers on a young orphan boy forced to live with his cruel aunts, until a series of fantastical events allows him to escape and take to the skies in an enormous peach, inhabited by a collection of insect-like creatures the boy quickly befriends. At first glance, Mendes might seem like an odd choice for such a project, but this wouldn’t be his first time working with one of Dahl’s beloved stories – Collider points out that he actually directed a stage musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory back in 2013.
Selick’s 1996 version of the film was critically acclaimed – it holds a 93% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes – but wasn’t exactly a box office success, only grossing a domestic total of $28 million during its theatrical run. By comparison, Selick’s previous film, Nightmare Before Christmas, raked in $50 million during its initial release, and 2009′s Coraline boasted an impressive worldwide take of $124 million.
James and the Giant Peach joins an expansive collection of remakes, reboots and reimaginings that are in various stages of development at Disney. Chief among these is next year’s hotly anticipated update of Beauty and the Beast, which unveiled some new concept art earlier this week. There’s also The Little Mermaid, which recently tapped Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to compose new music alongside Oscar winner Alan Menken, not to mention sequels to Maleficent and The Jungle Book.
With negotiations still in progress between Disney and Mendes, it’s likely that James and the Giant Peach won’t be seeing the light for at least a few years. But as always, you can stay tuned for additional updates, right here at Geek Nation.
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