Guillermo del Toro is to start work on an adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s novel The Secret Garden.
The director, who has worked on films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, will produce the film alongside Mark Johnson, while Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lucy Alibar will pen the script.
It was hoped that del Toro – who is known for his dark and surreal films – would direct, but the filmmaker is too busy working on a sequel to his upcoming sci-fi epic Pacific Rim and turning Pan’s Labyrinth into a stage musical, reports Deadline.
The Secret Garden follows Mary Lennox, a young girl who is sent to England to stay with her reclusive uncle when both her parents are killed in a cholera outbreak in India. Mary is told she must stay in two rooms and amuse herself, but when her maid tells her a story about a secret garden, where the mistress of the house was killed in a terrible accident, she starts venturing outside.
The Secret Garden has been adapted for cinema before. Agnieszka Holland’s 1993 film starred Maggie Smith, Andrew Knott, Kate Maberly and John Lynch. Another of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books, A Little Princess, was adapted by Alfonso Cuarón in 1995.
Guillermo del Toro’s credits include The Rise of the Guardians and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, while he also recently co-wrote the screenplay for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. Fantasy film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is currently up for four Oscars, was Alibar’s screenwriting debut.