‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ screenwriter teaming up with Guillermo del Toro for ‘The Secret Garden’

Danny Bowes
Movie Talk

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" screenwriter Lucy Alibar, for her new project, is partnering with a producer who knows a thing or two about fantasy himself: Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro is set to produce Alibar's adaptation of Francis Hodgson Burnett's classic novel "The Secret Garden" for Universal.

Both Alibar and del Toro have made notable fantasy films about young female protagonists facing perilous circumstances; Alibar's take in "Beasts" blended fantasy with a Cassevettes-like realism, where del Toro in "Pan's Labyrinth" departed into far more stylized flights of fancy. With del Toro's involvement as producer, and the project being set up at a studio, "The Secret Garden" is a chance to see what Alibar's visions look like on a larger scale.

"The Secret Garden," the story of an orphaned girl and the enchanted garden in which she finds a new family, has been adapted for stage and screen many times, the last being Agnieszka Holland's film some twenty years ago. Other adaptations range from the 1949 MGM film starring Margaret O'Brien to an anime television series unavailable in English, but that interested Tagalog speakers can enjoy.

Cast and director are as-yet undetermined for this version of "Secret Garden." Del Toro is presumably unavailable to direct because of his packed schedule which, after the forthcoming blockbuster "Pacific Rim," also includes "Crimson Peak" and the TV pilot "The Strain." More on this story as it develops and new talent joins the project.