Once Upon a Time exploring the lives of popular fairy tale creatures, it was Bill Willingham's DC/Vertigo Comics series Fables that had the idea long before that. For more than a decade the title has been going strong, growing into one of the most accomplished series in comics' modern age. A big screen adaptation has been in the works for years, but has been trapped in various forms of limbo ever since, but now we're finally seeing movement as a new director has come aboard.
Nikolaj Arcel, who had his big breakout earning an Oscar nomination for A Royal Affair, will direct a big screen version of Fables. The major thrust of the story centers on fairy tale characters such as Snow White, Bigby Wolf (aka the Big Bad Wolf), Cinderella, Little Boy Blue, and literally hundreds more as they live their lives in a magical part of New York City known as Fabletown. The earliest stories dealt with their being forced out of the Homelands by an evil foe known as The Adversary. Willingham is free to use any character in the public domain, and adds interesting twists to keep them fresh. My favorite deals with the married couple Beauty and the Beast, with the latter's physical form controlled by his wife's mood.
At one point it looked like Harry Potter director David Yates would take the helm, but when that fell through, Fables was pitched to ABC as a television series. When that didn't work out, they chose to go with Once Upon a Time, instead. David Heyman, also of the Harry Potter franchise, will lend his producing muscle while Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four reboot) will pen the script.
Arcel is a fast-rising star who has already been given the difficult task of remaking Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. But Fables comes with obvious franchise potential, and with fairy tales so popular right now (Disney has a few in the works, y'know) this is a huge opportunity.