An adaptation of the mega successful 2001 book Artemis Fowl, and its subsequent series, has been in the works for quite a while now, with mega producer Harvey Weinstein having acquired the rights and tried to get it made for almost 15 years.
After some flipping and flopping on who exactly owns the rights (Disney acquiring Weinstein’s Miramax a decade ago put the brakes on the project), it now appears that things are finally moving forward with the long-awaited big-screen version and it’s being reported that Sir Kenneth Brannagh has been locked down to direct.
Tracking-Boarding has the exclusive on the news on the project, which has intriguingly been described as “Harry Potter meets Die Hard.” That’s just a gift to the people who will end up marketing this thing to the masses. Brannagh appears like the perfect director for it, having just come off a huge success with the $542 million-grossing Cinderella. He will also produce alongside Weinstein.
If you don’t know already, here’s the story of Artemis Fowl as reported on TR:
It follows the brilliant and cunning 12-year-old eponymous criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II, whose cunning plot to extort gold from the secret Fairy People puts him directly in the cross-hairs of some of the most dangerous creatures on earth. Over the series, Fowl becomes a sort of anti-hero rather than a full-fledged villain, often having to work together with the fairies to stop a slew of treacherous megalomaniacs.
The original draft of the Artemis Fowl script was written by Michael Goldenberg, who wrote 2003’s version of Peter Pan as well as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, one of the most action-packed installments in the wizarding franchise (in which Brannagh, of course, starred himself). Variety has extra info on this announcement stating that Irish playwright Conor McPherson is in talks to write a new draft. As for the lead character himself, is it just me or does the above artwork make him look spookily like the kid who play Bruce Wayne on Gotham?
The recent successful pate of YA fantasy stories like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner – not to mention the sure-to-be-successful upcoming Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – is probably a major contributing factor in Artemis Fowl finally getting the kickstart in needed. I have to admit I haven’t read the source books but after Harry Potter came to an end, it seems time for another all-encompassing cinematic fantasy phenomenon to come along.
Before he gets to Artemis Fowl, however, Branagh will be working on the recently announced remake of Murder on the Orient Express. He also has a drama called Italian Shoes, with Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench.