New Line Cinema recently heard a pitch from Darren Lemke that presented a concept for a live-action re-imagining of beloved fairy tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The pitch hit its mark solid and New Line acquired the idea and is moving forward with it. This new vision is expected to be of the action/adventure/fantasy variety and be presented in the same style as movies like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The original Nutcracker tale was written in 1816 by E.T.A. Hoffmann and centers around a 12-year-old girl named Marie and her 8-year-old brother, Fritz, as they eagerly await the year’s Christmas gift from their clockmaker/inventor father. He presents them with a specially crafted castle with mechanical people moving around it as if always tending to the day’s chores. Marie notices a Nutcracker and asks her father about it, who offers her the responsibility of caring for the doll. Later that night, Marie discovers that there is much more to the Nutcracker as he and many other dolls come to life to do battle with the mice, who are lead by the seven-headed Mouse King.
Over time, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King has been adapted into many different forms of story — most notably, the classic ballet production. Surprisingly, there is not yet a movie that has achieved the greatness that you would think such a classic tale would have, so this is a chance to make not only a great new family film, but also a great new Christmas season standard.
Lemke is already developing something of a knack for fantasy and fairy tale stories. He wrote Bryan Singer’s supposed next film Jack the Giant Killer, and he also worked on the fourth Shrek movie called Shrek Forever After. He even did work on Lost as a writer, director, and archer’s victim!