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Robert Zemeckis to Uglimate The Nutcracker

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 11, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 11, 2009 |

I haven’t seen Robert Zemeckis’ Christmas Carol yet, though Agent Bedhead’s review suggests that it’s not only an extraordinary and faithful adaptation, but one that’s also rather dark. It’s not exactly killing at the box-office, but it’s still just the first week of November, and the yearly Christmas movies tend to have a lot of box-office legs (last year’s Four Christmases debuted with a similar $31 million opening weekend and went on to gross $120 million — and it didn’t open until Thanksgiving).

Indeed, Zemeckis is clearly a fan of Christmas movies (knowing they are all but a sure thing, see also Polar Express), and the man has no reservations about smearing his 3D motion-capture all over sacred source material (see also Beowulf). So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to learn, via The Hollywood Cog, that Zemeckis has his sights set on another sacred Christmas text: The Nutcracker.

To be sure, this is not an adaptation of the popular Tchaikovsky ballet (fathers everywhere can breath a sigh of relief) but an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original novel, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Zemeckis’ The Nutcracker will be a faithful adaptation, as well. It’ll be a period piece, set in 19th century Russia, which will explore how the cursed Nutcracker character came to be and the battle between the dolls and the mice.

Oh, and it goes without saying, I suppose, but he’s gonna use that Zemeckian 3D animated motion capture to make the movie.

It’s not the first big-screen adaptation of The Nutcracker. There was a stop-motion version featuring Christopher Lee in 1979, called Nutcracker Fantasy and a traditional animated version in 1990 called The Nutcracker Prince (with Kiefer Sutherland). However, I suspect this will be the first that will probably cost $200 million and, if The Christmas Carol is any indication, that will probably scare the bejesus out of your kids.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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