EXCLUSIVE: Disney is making a new version of the classic Ray Bradbury thriller novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. The studio, which turned Bradbury’s novel into a 1983 movie, has set Seth Grahame-Smith to make his feature directorial debut on the project. He will begin work immediately writing a treatment, and the studio then will hire a writer to script the project. Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg’s KatzSmith Productions will be the producing banner and Katzenberg will produce the film.
The novel tells the story of how Mr. Dark, the evil proprietor of a traveling carnival who preys on the residents of a small town by bartering possession of their souls for the dreams each one has. Grahame-Smith said it was his favorite book as a child, but he doesn’t feel the movie is sacrosanct. Although the late Bradbury wrote the script, he later lamented that the movie lost a lot of the book. Grahame-Smith intends to put it back and plug a new generation into the tale.
“I have been so crazy about this book, and it was such a formative title in my life that I actually wrote a piece on NPR about why it is so important for young males to read,” Grahame-Smith said. “It is a classic coming-of-age, father-son story about the transition from childhood to adulthood and how kids can’t wait to be adults and adults romanticize their childhoods. I’m not remaking the movie; I want the haunted atmosphere that makes the book so chilling, and I want to reinstate some of the classic scenes from the book that were missing from the ’83 film.”
While the scribe Disney will hire works on the script based on Grahame-Smith’s treatment, he will finish the Beetlejuice sequel he’s working on with Tim Burton with Michael Keaton hopefully reprising. Burton next is helming Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children for Fox, but will follow with Beetlejuice, which Grahame-Smith scripted and he and Katzenberg are producing for Fox. Grahame-Smith is separately completing a sequel novel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which Grand Central will publish in January. He’s repped by WME.