The collaboration between Disney and Harvey Weinstein for the film adaptation of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl just goes to show what a good piece of literature can do. At the time the Weinsteins optioned the book in 2000, they were working for the Disney-owned production company Miramax and the Disney chief was Michael Eisner. Five years later the Weinsteins split from the company over creative and financial disputes, and when they tried to regain the company they had founded, Eisner rejected the offer in favor of Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital. After the break, it seemed unlikely that they would ever work together again.Luckily, Fowl was one of the titles the Weinsteins were allowed to produce based on the separation agreement. Now it appears it is time to let bygones be bygones. Harvey Weinstein is quoted in a report from Deadline acknowledging the surprising reunion and offering up some excitement about the project that had been lying dormant for over a decade:
“If you would have told me five years ago I would be producing a project with Disney I would have thought you were crazy,” said the Weinstein Company co-chairman. “I feel as though everything is coming full circle considering Bob De Niro and Jane Rosenthal brought me this book while I was still at Miramax and within hours I told them I wanted the rights to the film. I am thrilled to be reunited with Alan Horn, who I worked with while he was at Warner Bros., and we had tremendous success with The Aviator, Starsky And Hutch and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is also exciting to partner with friends Alan Bergman, Sean Bailey and of course Bob Iger, who has been incredibly generous to me over the years. This is a special project for me because my children absolutely love this book. This story is for everyone and there is no one better than Disney to make a film that will excite people young and old.”
Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal will be joining Harvey Weinstein as executive producers and Michael Goldberg, writer for the script of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, penned the screenplay. The novel follows 12-year-old millionaire genius and criminal mastermind (the titular Artemis Fowl) after he kidnaps a fairy for her magic in order to save his family. Unlike the fairies in bedtime stories, however, these fairies pose a serious threat to the young boy.
The Disney Publishing Worldwide series is incredibly popular, having sold over 21 million copies in 44 languages and the live-action film will be covering the first two installments of the series, which now runs eight books long.