Exclusive: Mike Newell on The Box Of Delights film

Director Mike Newell explains why his movie adaptation of The Box Of Delights is in trouble...

It’s three and a half years since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell was first linked to a movie adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box Of Delights, and since then, things have gone quiet on the project.

When we caught up with Newell to chat about his latest film, Great Expectations, we couldn’t not ask what had happened to his proposed Masefield adaptation, and here’s the rather interesting answer he gave us…

Something close to our hearts is your planned adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box Of Delights. What’s the status of that at the moment?

The script is there, I would love to make it but I think there is a problem with The Box Of Delights and the problem is that… I don’t know what children expect. I know what adult Hollywood producers think they expect and it is that the story should be much more intricate and much more special effect-y and have comedy and [waves hands around] terrible surprises, and to look overegged in general. The Box Of Delights is a story from the 1930s about a boy who has wished on him something that is almost a curse, which is a box that can allow him to do certain things, and is being struggled over by two powerful figures from the past.

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And you know, I’m from a certain generation, and I am the age I am and for me, it’s partly an answer to your thing about why didn’t you juice up Great Expectations. For me, the story of that book, just the way it is with the story of Great Expectations, is sufficient. It’s a really good story, it has a really strong human sense of good and evil and exploration and peril and all sorts of wonderful things but I think it’s in trouble because it isn’t Transformers.

It’s not a Jerry Bruckheimer film.


If he wanted to make it though, would you go for it?

I should be so lucky. He’s one of the great producers of his time, of course I would, but that’s not going to happen.

Remember: next Monday the 19th of November marks the beginning of our Annual Den of Geek The Box Of Delights Weekly Six-part Watch-Along Christmas Eve Countdown. Er, that probably needs a snappier title. 

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