There have been many versions of The Scarlet Pimpernel over the years, but now a new UK company called Fairbanks Productions is looking to jump on the current bandwagon for literary properties dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by launching a new take on the character.
Based on Baroness Orczy’s novel, the Pimpernel lives a double life: by day, he’s wimpy Sir Percy Blakeney, an English aristo-prat in the 18th Century. But by night he becomes a dashing masked rogue who helps French nobles escape from Robespierre’s men.
Fairbanks has recruited Neil Jackson, seen in Quantum of Solace as Mr Slate and who appears in Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, to star in the film. We’re also promised a lot of “high profile cameos” when the film kicks off shooting later next year in budget friendly Eastern Europe, which is where the company plans to stretch its £75 million wallet.
No prizes for guessing where they got the inspiration to reboot the hero. "We want to try and do to the story of The Scarlet Pimpernel what Guy Ritchie did to Sherlock Holmes for Warner Bros" says executive producer James Black.
And if the name sounds familiar, the company itself is the brainchild of Dominick Fairbanks, who just happens to be the great-grandson of Douglas Fairbanks and grandson to Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Wonder if he's as handy with a sword...