Nikolaj Arcel On To Make Fables

From A Royal Affair to a beloved comic

Back in 2010, when he was riding high on the success of the penultimate Harry Potter film, director David Yates was being approached for and linked to a number of different projects. Among them was the adaptation of Bill Willingham’s DC Comics title Fables, which not-so-coincidentally has Potter man David Heyman producing. The Yates rumours never went anywhere, but now comes news that A Royal Affair’s Nikolaj Arcel is in the frame instead.

Willingham created Fables for Vertigo Comics in 2002, crafting the story of fairy tale characters forced en masse from their various domains by a Big Bad known by many names, but usually 'the Emperor' or 'the Adversary'.

Relocating to Earth, the likes of King Cole, Snow White, Cinderella and the rest have, over the years, settled into their own secret community in New York, which they informally call Fabletown, and hide out among us normal folk. Cole claims to run the place, but Snow White is the power behind the throne, sick of people bringing up her dwarf-filled history and long since divorced from Prince Charming (who, in a fun touch, went on to marry and lose both Cinders and Sleeping Beauty in turn).

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have had the rights for a few years, and tried to put something together with the Jim Henson Company back in 2004, but that never coalesced past early development. Warner Bros. TV also looked at a small-screen version via ABC, which didn’t fly when the channel developed fantasy-meets-reality drama Once Upon A Time instead. Now Jeremy Slater is charged with writing the script this time, and it remains to be seen whether the tales can finally make their way to cinemas.