New Secret Garden Movie in the Works

According to Deadline, there’s a new movie adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel The Secret Garden. It’s got some kidlit movie cred – David Heyman and StudioCanal are producing, and they did the Harry Potter movies and Paddington. Jack Thorne – who is also currently adapting His Dark Materials – is set to write; his recent credits are pretty varied and include Nick Hornby adaptation A Long Way Down as well as crime show The Last Panthers, so . . . I’m curious to see what he does with this. I’ve always been more of a Little Princess girl, as far as Burnett goes, but I’m definitely interested to see how this turns out.

Thoughts on Outlander’s Two-Season Renewal

OutlanderStarz announced yesterday that they’ve renewed hit show Outlander for both seasons three and four. Multi-season renewals seem to be getting more common recently, and I don’t always think they’re the best idea, but here I think it makes a lot of sense. In a show of this scope, especially, knowing that the end of given season (here season three) will not possibly have to serve as an ending for the show as a whole opens up new storytelling possibilities.

And, of course, there’s plenty of source material. The press release specifically states that seasons three and four will be based on books three and four – Voyager and Drums of Autumn – but I do wonder how closely the show will stick to the books as it goes on, and if it even should. Things work differently on the screen than on the page, and I’d hope they’d allow themselves the freedom to tell the story in the way that best suits this format. In any case, there are eight main books so far, which both a book nine and a prequel supposedly in the works, as well as a related mystery series, so they’re not running out of story any time soon.

New Boxcar Children Movies

According to Deadline, a bunch of new family movies based on children’s books are headed our way from Shout Factory and Legacy Classics – starting with The Boxcar Children. I love these books, so I’m . . . cautiously optimistic. The main thing I’m curious about is whether they’ll making the setting historical or modernize it. I’m not sure about the later books in the series (written by various writers), but so much happens in the early books that would just not make sense given current foster care systems, etc. I feel like an update would really struggle to maintain the original flavor. But we’ll see.

This is also interesting because it says there will be at least four movies, starting with three animated features, but possibly including live-action. Are they going to be part of the same series? Start over at the beginning with live action? Tell me more about the Boxcar Children Cinematic Universe, people.

(Apropos of nothing: I am not wild about the current covers on these books, which… the Amazon embed thingy isn’t working at the moment but you can see the first one here.)

Trailer: Julian Fellowes + Anthony Trollope = Doctor Thorne

Amazon announced yesterday that it had acquired Julian Fellowes’s new miniseries Doctor Thorne, based on the Anthony Trollope novel of the same title. (It’s one of his Chronicles of Barsetshire.) The show stars Tom Hollander, Ian McShane, Alison Brie, Stefanie Martini, Rebecca Front, Harry Richardson, and others; it will arrive on Amazon on May 20th. Here’s Amazon’s new trailer. Thoughts? Mine are a. They don’t even mention Trollope, huh? and b. This looks like lots of pretty clothes and scenery and angst, so yay!

Abi Morgan’s Little House Movie Moves to Paramount

Hope for us fans of pioneer girls and also The Hour! Variety reports that Abi Morgan’s Little House on the Prairie adaptation, originally in development at Sony, is now in the works at Paramount Pictures. Now, this is apparently based on the show not the book, but . . . it will be interesting to see what that means in practice. I’d like to see what Morgan would do with the later books, actually – The Long Winter through These Happy Golden Years would make for an interesting miniseries about the founding of a community and Morgan would do a good job with all the interpersonal politics and cultural shifts – but, alas, that’s not what’s actually happening. Still! I am eager to see who they cast, if they get to that point. (How about Maggie Elizabeth Jones?)

So about that Romeo & Juliet sequel…

As soon as news broke yesterday that ABC ordered a pilot for a Romeo & Juliet sequel, the Internet was covered in “But how could there be a sequel? THEY’RE BOTH DEAD” jokes. And sure, fine joke, but in case you’re actually curious about the answer: it’s about the surviving members of the Montague and Capulet families after Romeo and Juliet themselves die, and it actually sounds pretty interesting! (I’m here for anything involving palace intrigue, really.) I hear that the novel, Melinda Taub’s Still Star-Crossed, is actually quite good; I’ll try to get it from the library soon and let you know what I think. But I’m hopeful about this one. (Though I do think they should probably change the title to avoid association with the failed CW show.)

Lauren Graham & Mae Whitman Adapting The Royal We

THIS IS AMAZING NEWS. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman are adapting a film version of novel The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, a.k.a. the geniuses behind Go Fug Yourself. I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long time, so I expected to like this book – the story of an American student who falls in love with the future king of England – but where I expected a fun, fluffy romance, I found a rich, complex novel, and I loved it.

I also love the idea of Whitman starring as Bex. Who do we think should be Nick????

Allegiant Part 2 Gets a New Name

AscendantWe’ve known for a while that the third book in the Divergent trilogy would be split into two movies – of course, what third book isn’t? – but last week MTV broke the news that the fourth movie would have its own name – Ascendant – rather than being called Allegiant Part 2 or similar. This is probably a good marketing decision – it’s not like “allegiant” is a word that particularly rolls off the tongue. Some book fans are mad, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be that controversial. You can see the new Ascendant logo at left; click through to see the new Allegiant one as well. That MTV article points out something interesting about the tagline – if “The End Is Never What You Expect,” well, is it not what book fans expect or not what NON-book fans expect? Because those could be very different things.

Shadowhunters Casts Clary, Simon, & Isabelle

Kat McNamaraShadowhunters, the ABC Family show based on Cassandra Clare’s books, is continuing to cast its main characters! Most recently, Kat McNamara was cast as lead Clary, opposite the previously announced Dominic Sherwood as Jace. And last week, Alberto Rosende was cast as Simon and Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle. Exciting! Can’t wait to see how the rest of the cast shapes up.