BREAKING: Disney and Harvey Weinstein, who had an acrimonious parting of the ways several years ago, are back in business. Walt Disney Studios has announced that it is developing the Eoin Colfer fantasy novel Artemis Fowl, with Harvey Weinstein producing. This live-action film will be based on the first and second installments of Disney Publishing Worldwide’s bestselling series which has sold 21 million copies in 44 languages. Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix) is writing the script and Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal will executive produce the project. Weinstein optioned the book in 2000 through Disney-owned Miramax, along with the Tribeca duo.
Weinstein notes the unlikely nature of a teaming at Disney, but of course the acrimony way back when was between him, his brother Bob and former Disney chief Michael Eisner. The Weinsteins left, and were later rebuffed when they tried to purchase the company named after their parents, and its valuable film library. Disney instead sold it to Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital.
“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 the Weinstein Company co-chairman. “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. I am thrilled to be reunited with Alan Horn who I worked with while he was at Warner Bros. and we had tremendous success with The Aviator, Starsky And Hutch and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is also exciting to partner with friends Alan Bergman, Sean Bailey and of course Bob Iger who has been incredibly generous to me over the years. This is a special project for me because my children absolutely love this book. This story is for everyone and there is no one better than Disney to make a film that will excite people young and old.”
Artemis Fowl is about a 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 to harness her magic to save his family. These aren’t the fairies of the bedtime stories – they’re dangerous.
“With its balance of mystery, adventure and family appeal, Artemis Fowl is a natural fit for Disney,” said Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with Harvey on this exciting project.”
Said Horn: “Harvey is 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.”