Juliet Blake, who teamed with Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg on “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” is developing a live-action “Hansel and Gretel” movie.
Blake, through her Four Chickens for a Fiver banner, has acquired feature rights to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel version of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale about a brother and sister threatened by a witch living in a candy house. Gaiman’s book, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti, will be released in October.
“For me, retelling Hansel and Gretel was a way of telling an old tale in a way that made it immediate and true, and about us, now,” Gaiman said. “It reminds us of how paper thin civilization really is. It’s about hunger, and about families.”
Gaiman’s books “Coraline” and “Stardust” were also adapted into feature films.
“I’m thrilled and delighted to be working with Juliet Blake to bring Hansel and Gretel to the world again, and to show people how much this story has to say to us,” he said.
Paramount’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, generated respectable worldwide grosses of about $225 million last year.
Blake is a producer and curator of special projects for TED Talks and formerly served as a senior exec at National Geographic and president of Jim Henson Television.
She recently produced “TED Talks Education” for TED and PBS, hosted by John Legend. Blake oversaw the development and production of National Geographic’s inhouse production company and was responsible for such programs as “Explorer” and “Border Wars.”
She started working on “The Hundred-Foot Journey” project in early 2009 when she came across the galleys for the Richard C. Morais novel, which she optioned. The film has grossed $41 million in the U.S. in less than a month.
Blake is also teaming with Nicholas Bruckman on a movie version of Bruckman’s 2008 documentary “La Americana,” centering on a young undocumented immigrant in New York City who struggles to save the life of her sick daughter in Latin America.
The film won documentary awards at the New York Latino Film Festival and the Ojai Film Festival.
“There is really no better partner than Juliet to bring this story to the wider world,” Bruckman said. “Juliet championed the documentary while an executive at National Geographic, where ‘La Americana’ would later broadcast, and I’m thrilled to be working together to finally turn it into a narrative feature film.”
Bruckman produced “Valley of the Saints,” which won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Blake is repped by David Fox at Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg and Light.