There is going to be a new "take" on Sleeping Beauty from producer Neal Moritz (Fast & Furious, 21 Jump Street), because these re-tellings of fairy tales are going so well lately. But while some adaptations have been underwhelming, Moritz has a project that is sure to hold on to our attention: he would like to turn Sleeping Beauty into a stalker. In other words, when the "beauty" wakes up, she becomes obsessed with finding the man who gave her that fateful kiss and she stalks him. And it's a comedy! And now I'd like to introduce my new segment entitled CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE, THEN.
Moritz, producing under his Original Film banner, hopes to turn this fairy tale adaptation into a comedy in which the smoochy male lead kisses a woman who is under a spell -- and then he can't get rid of her! And criminal hilarity ensues! Sexist arguments aside (because you could easily switch the genders and everyone would look equally horrible and crazy, so that's a big "whatever" for me), um, this is a stupid idea.
In case it's been a while since you read the original fairy tale or saw the 1959 Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty is about a princess who is cursed upon her christening by an evil fairy who condemns her to death by spindle-prick. The curse is downgraded by one of the good fairies, and the death sentence is commuted to a 100-year sleep, from which the princess will be awakened by her true love's kiss. Meanwhile, King Dad orders all the spindles and spinning wheels in the land burned, the textiles industry goes under, the unions call for the king's head. (That part was, obviously, not mentioned in the original story.) In the movie, the infant is then whisked away to the fairy tale version of witness protection -- the woods -- where she lives in blissful ignorance of the whole "prick" thing until she turns 16. Ahhhh, those precious days before Facebook.
Around the time of her 16th birthday, a nice-looking dude about the same age shows up and since they are teenagers, they are totally digging on each other. But the dude is a prince, and the dudette is a peasant, and they can't have a royal feel even though she is really a princess and they have been part of an arranged marriage this whole time (to unite their fathers' respective kingdoms). It's like if Prince William met Kate Middleton, and the latter had no idea she was a princess, but she was a secret princess, and they were supposed to be in lerve since they were babies! (And maybe they were also distant cousins, GROSS.) Anyway, the evil fairy gets word that these two are giving each other the horny eye and has the prince kidnapped after our secret princess stupidly touches a spindle in a secret room. ("Hey, what's this thing? I hope it's something I'm not forbidden from touching!...zzzzzzzzz.") She falls asleep, the entire kingdom is placed under a magical spell that puts everyone else to sleep too, because otherwise they would all die before seeing the hot, hot awakening action.
The story ends with the princess waking up after getting her kiss, which, under any other circumstances, might be considered to be of a molesty nature. (In fact, no one should ever kiss a sleeping person. That is just creepy.)
And then that's it. They live happily ever after. In the fairy tale, they have two kids! And the prince's stepmother is an ogress! So that's fun!
Probably because the girl didn't have to stalk the guy who was already in love with her. And that is why this is a stupid idea, and why, if Moritz really wants to make a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, this stalking idea has to be the first thing to go. Page one rewrite, kids. Unless you're not going to call it "Sleeping Beauty" anymore. The whole point of the kiss that wakes the girl up is that it's from her one true love. If she is only convincing herself that this guy is her one true love, then the kiss never woke her up in the first place. And if he's her one true love, he isn't going to go anywhere, so the stalking is unnecessary.
Unless we're talking about a dream, or a nightmare. Or she's in a coma, and a part of her mind is still awake and screaming to get out, and she is being made out with left and right by all these dudes while she's asleep (GUHHHHHHHHH, so wrong), and none of them are waking her up, and it's driving her mad. And then, if she dreams that she's been woken up and she tries to find the guy who woke her up in her dream, then that imagined pursuit can be really creepy and perhaps be a wicked psychological thriller.
But it can't be called Sleeping Beauty. Because that movie is about a cursed princess and the love story between her and the prince who doesn't realize she's a princess, plus the evil fairy's castle-sized chip on her shoulder and the evil bootleg spindle with the painful prick. (Go ahead, that was an opening. See? I did it again!) It's about all the stuff that would happen before this adaptation. No, the title of the movie I just described can only allude to an element of Sleeping Beauty (see: Mirror, Mirror, even though that was a straight adaptation of Snow White). A loose adaptation of something is fine, but it has to be made very clear that it's really loose. As in, if not for that one little thread, this pair of pants is going to fall off and we're seeing something that is no longer pants. But there's still that one thread, so it's still "pants" enough to be considered pants.
So, what should a psychological thriller loosely based on the story of Sleeping Beauty (that I just freaking wrote, so maybe Neal Moritz should be giving me a ring) be called? Besides Spindle Prick, which gives the porn parody industry one less thing to do today.
True Love's Kiss: I'm sorry, is Reese Witherspoon in this stupid movie? No one wants to see a movie with the word "kiss" in the title.
The 100-Year Sleep: Only good if the movie ends with a 116-year-old woman talking about this mysterious guy she met on a boat once, then throwing away a really expensive piece of jewelry.
Nighty Night: Only if it goes straight to DVD.
Good Night, Sweet Princess: Will turn off all the male humans who were supposed to be turned off by John Carter and the Princess of Mars.
The Sleep: Might confuse people who have heard of The Big Sleep, because those particular people are stupid enough to be confused.
ZZZZZZZZ: Obviously, this one wins. Unless there's one with a better "prick" joke.
When she isn't nerding out that the holidays are coming, Jamie is a reader at Monday Night Fan Fiction at Fontana's in Chinatown, NYC (next date: TBA, 7:00 PM). All work is original, written by the readers, so if you have a brilliant fanfic idea stuck in your head, send it via Twitter: @jamielikesthis