Why Peter Pan Projects Are Infiltrating Hollywood

"Peter Pan is more ubiquitous than Charlie Sheen," jokes Aperture's Adam Goldworm, who hit the town with "Neverland" a week ago.
Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection

There must be fairy dust floating above Hollywood.

The recent rush of Peter Pan film projects hitting the town began with The.Never.Land, a spec script by John Swetnam that was sent to studios in mid-February by APA and FilmEngine. That project, described as a big-budget tentpole, tells the story of Wendy and the forever-young boy with a Twilight-ish spin.

Around the same time, an untitled Peter Pan pitch hit studios from Wedding Crashers producer Tapestry and CAA-repped Jeff Rake, who came up with a Pan family adventure concept.

Both projects then saw some of the wind taken out of their sails by Pan, the high-profile Channing Tatum-led package that included Billy Ray on board to write and Joe Roth attached to produce. Pan, which reimagines the classic 1904 stage play (and later novel) by J.M. Barrie with the boy and the dastardly Captain Hook as brothers, recently sold to Sony in what sources say is a seven-figure deal.

Not to be outdone, on March 11, Neverland hit the town and is in play at several studios. The spec script by Aaron Henry and Kirk Kjeldsen is being repped by Aperture, with Pan recast as a villain abducting London's children, while Hook, the hero, must stop him.

"It's amazing that I picked the week that Peter Pan is more ubiquitous than Charlie Sheen," jokes Aperture's Adam Goldworm, who is repping Neverland.

The Pan pileup comes amid a wave of fairy-tale and classic literature projects taking hold in Hollywood, as studios seek to move away from the comic books and toy brands that have filled multiplexes. On the heels of Red Riding Hood, several versions of the Snow White tale are in the works, as well as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters at Paramount and Jack the Giant Killer at Warner Bros.

Not to be left out, TV is jumping into the Pan game, with Syfy making a four-hour miniseries titled Neverland. Keira Knightley just joined the cast as the voice of Tinker Bell in what is intended to be a prequel of sorts.