The Tracking Board website on Tuesday announced that a major hurdle has been overcome in the effort to bring children’s literary anti-hero Artemis Fowl to the big screen in the hiring of Kenneth Branagh as director. Mr. Branagh recently directed the live action take on Cinderella, which was a huge hit for Walt Disney Pictures, grossing $542 million worldwide; Walt Disney Pictures is also developing Artemis Fowl, along with The Weinstein Company. Not only will Mr. Branagh direct the film, he will also be one of the film’s producers along with Harvey Weinstein, who has been attached to the project since Day One.
This seems to indicate that an Artemis Fowl movie may actually see the light of day. The movie rights to the Artemis Fowl series were secured by Mr. Weinstein when the novels debuted in 2001, but due to several delays, including studio reorganizations and concerns over appearing to be Harry Potter wannabes, production on anything concrete has been stalled.
The delay may have been a blessing in disguise, though, as now seems a perfect time to be kicking this project into high gear. As The Tracking Board associate editor Clark Allen says in response to Tuesday’s announcement, “In a crowded sea of dystopian YA teen adaptations, Artemis Fowl should inject a much-needed dose of fun fantasy fare, without the brooding pubescent rebellions and bleak gray color palettes that have dominated in a post Hunger Games climate.”
For those not familiar with the series (eight books written by Eoin Colfer, published between 2001 and 2012), Artemis Fowl is a privileged teen-aged criminal mastermind who kidnaps Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Recon) in order to leverage LEPrecon’s help in his latest scheme; Holly is also one of the magical Fairy People who operate in secret behind the scenes of our world. Although Artemis begins his journey as a slick and snarkily intelligent anti-hero, through the course of the series he redeems himself, working with the Fairies in their attempts to resolve worldwide conflicts. It’s a wonderful, smart, sassy YA series.
Fingers crossed that Artemis Fowl – or better yet, a series of movies starring the smooth teen-aged schemer – will be gracing the silver screen in the near future!
~ Sharon Browning