This past summer, Disney’s made a worthy attempt to bring the world of Roald Dahl’s The BFG to life with the help of Steven Spielberg. Though the adaptation didn’t meet box office expectations, that won’t stop the studio from exploring more of the author’s works. But this time, instead of looking for a new one, they will do some revisiting. According to a new report, Disney will be working on a live-action adaptation of James And The Giant Peach, with Sam Mendes, who directed the last two James Bond films, currently in early talks to develop and direct. More on the story below.
Deadline was the first to report on the news.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Disney released a film adaptation of James And The Giant Peach. In 1996, the studio released a stop-motion animation film of the same name with Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) behind the lens. Here’s the official plot synopsis of the book from Amazon:
Roald Dahl was a champion of the underdog and all things littleâ€”in this case, an orphaned boy oppressed by two nasty, self-centered aunts. How James escapes his miserable life with the horrible aunts and becomes a hero is a Dahlicious fantasy of the highest order. You will never forget resourceful little James and his new family of magically overgrown insectsâ€”a ladybug, a spider, a grasshopper, a glowworm, a silkworm, and the chronic complainer, a centipede with a hundred gorgeous shoes. Their adventures aboard a luscious peach as large as a house take them across the Atlantic Ocean, through waters infested with peach-eating sharks and skies inhabited by malevolent Cloudmen, to a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
This happily ever after contemporary fairy tale is a twentieth-century classic that every child deserves to know. And Lane Smith’s endearingly funny illustrations are a perfect match for the text.
The addition of James And The Giant Peach to Disney’s film slate follows a long line of the studio combing through their animation archives to readapt them into live-action films. The live-action Alice In Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book are among some of the studio’s biggest recent box office hits, and many have high hopes for other live-action adaptations of Beauty And The Beast starring Emma Watson; Cruella starring Emma Stone; and The Little Mermaid, which is being produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Broadway’s Hamilton).
Mendes boarding this project, which reportedly has Nick Hornby writing the screenplay, is a bit out of his wheelhouse considering that the director has never been behind a family-friendly project. Though that probably wouldn’t stop him from exploring darker themes or even changing it up to separate itself from the original, like David Lowery did with Pete’s Dragon. If he does sign on, it should be interesting to see how much free reign the studio will give Mendes, for if they give him just enough slack, James And the Giant Peach could be something really worth watching.