Disney, Harvey Weinstein Teaming Up for 'Artemis Fowl'
People thought it would never happen, but Disney and Harvey Weinstein, who famously went their separate ways in 2005, are teaming up on a movie.
Disney and Weinstein are developing an adaptation of Artemis Fowl for the big screen. The live-action feature will be based on the first and second installments in Disney Publishing Worldwide’s best-selling children’s series, written by Eoin Colfer.
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"If you would have told me five years ago I would be producing a project with Disney I would have thought you were crazy,” said Weinstein in a statement. “I feel as though everything is coming full circle considering Bob De Niro and Jane Rosenthal brought me this book while I was still at Miramax and within hours I told them I wanted the rights to the film."
Fowl’s film rights were initially purchased by Miramax in 2001. The company was then run by Weinstein and the development process saw several drafts from a succession of writers and even directors.
When Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, left the company in 2005 and formed The Weinstein Co., the project then fell under the Disney banner and sat dormant for years. The project, however, was one of the titles that Weinstein would be allowed to produce as part of the separation settlement.
Fowl is back with a screenplay by Michael Goldenberg, who wrote Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a movie made when now-Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn was president of Warner Bros. Weinstein now becomes an active producer on the back-in-action project while De Niro and Rosenthal act as executive producers.
Disney Studios production head Sean Bailey said the books’ “balance of mystery, adventure and family appeal [make it] a natural fit for Disney” while Disney Studios chairman Horn called Weinstein “one of the preeminent producers in the industry, with impeccable taste and creative instincts.”
“I had a wonderful time working with Harvey during my tenure at Warner Bros., and I'm very happy to continue that relationship here at Disney.”
Weinstein worked with Horn on co-productions of The Aviator, Starsky and Hutch and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Fowl is, according to Disney, “about 12-year-old Artemis who is a millionaire, a genius -- and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn’t know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy (Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit) to harness her magic to save his family. These aren't the fairies of the bedtime stories -- they're dangerous.”
The popular series has more than 21 million copies in print in 44 languages worldwide.
by Alex Weprin