Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Neil Burger is negotiating with Paramount to script and direct a new big-screen version of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Robert C. O’Brien‘s novel was first brought to the big screen as an animated picture by Don Bluth, retitled The Secret of NIMH. No official indication as yet if the latest version will be live action or animated or both (as if live action didn’t already mean both, particularly when the lead characters are animals) but I’m think Burger suggests a live-action route.
Bluth’s film did digress from the novel a little, even so much as killing off characters in sword fights, mixing in a little quasi-spiritual mumbo jumbo and shifting the structure around quite considerably. Nonetheless, I think it’s a winning work in its own right and fully commendable attempt to fit the book into a feature film. having said that, I wouldn’t want Burger to take the same approach but instead brew up something new again.
This story seemed to break as a College Movie Review story but has now wound up in Variety also. Neither source has much information, but Neil Burger plus Robert C. O’Brien sounds really very good to me even before any sauce is added and I’ll definitely be keeping a sharp eye on this one.
For franchise potential, O’Brien’s daughter Leslie Jane Conly has written two NIMH sequels which I haven’t read but surely must be better than Dick Sebast’s knock-off follow up to the Bluth movie.
Burger’s first foray into family films was expected to be the third Chronicles of Narnia picture, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but that was never to be and the film only yesterday entered production under director Michael Apted and with a script rewritten by both Steven Knight and Richard La Gravenese. Must be set to wind up better than Caspian… right?
For those of you who haven’t seen Neil Burger’s clever, indie debut film Interview With the Assassin, you might do well to add this curious offshoot of the JFK conspiracy and mockumentary genres to your Netflix queues.