Del Toro Finds The Secret Garden

Lucy Alibar writing new adaptation

Guillermo del toro

A young girl dealing with swirling emotions escapes into a seemingly forbidden world. Guillermo del Toro is involved. Put your hand down if you thought he might be making a sequel to Pan’s Labyrinth: he’s actually producing a new adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett novel The Secret Garden.

Lucy Alibar, who scored a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination for her work on Beasts Of The Southern Wild, is on board to write the script.

Burnett’s novel is one of the most beloved children’s’ novels in the world. Originally published serially during 1910, it arrived on shelves in 1911 and has long since been regarded as a classic.

The heroine is Mary Lennox, a rude, spoiled 10-year-old girl who grows up in India the daughter of wealthy parents. But after everyone in her household dies of cholera, she’s sent to Yorkshire to live with her uncle. When she discovers a key to the garden that has been left locked and unattended since her uncle’s wife died in an accident, she ventures inside with the friends she’s made, and everyone’s life changes for the better.

This will be just the latest adaptation: the first was back in 1919 and there have been several films and TV series based on the story since then, including a memorable 1970s version by the BBC and a 1993 version with Maggie Smith.

But Alibar, del Toro and fellow producer Mark Johnson (who worked with him on Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, and produced another Burnett adaptation, A Little Princess, with Alfonso Cuaron in 1995) are planning to give it yet another different spin, with Deadline hearing that it’ll be set in the American South around the turn of the 20th century.

In case you were wondering, no, del Toro won’t be directing this one. The man has to sleep occasionally...