Director David Gordon Green is bringing celebrated author Laura Ingalls Wilder's books to life on the big screen as part of a new film project. The Pineapple Express filmmaker reveals he has been reading the writer's 1932 childrens novel Little House in the Big Woods in preparation for a movie adaptation, although few other details about the film are known.
Filling out the Culture Diary section for New York Magazine, in which stars share a week in their lives with readers, he writes, "Read Little House in the Big Woods. I'm developing a new film based on the old Laura Ingalls Wilder books."
Wilder's books were based on her early childhood with her pioneering family at their woodland home near the village of Pepin, Wisconsin. Her stories have spawned numerous TV series and movies over the years, with actress Melissa Gilbert famously portraying the writer in Little House on the Prairie, which aired on television around the globe in the 1970s and 1980s.
Wilder died in 1957, aged 90.
In the early 2000s, the winds of Hollywood carried the name of an artist to be known: David Gordon Green. A sincere, introspective director who'd create works like George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow. Only a few years into his film career, Green had already neared a degree of reverence most auteurs could only dream of. But following his 2007 picture Snow Angels, Green found a new path: a path of laughter. Drug- and sex-infused laughter, riddled with Francos and Rogens and McBrides. Starting in 2008, the director has churned out an array of raunchy, lowbrow comedies: Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter, and counting. As this is the David Gordon Green with which we've become familiar, his newest claim might be particularly surprising: a Little House on the Prairie movie adaptation.
Deadline reports that Green is in talks to handle the project, with Abi Morgan pegged to write the script. In other words, it just got weirder. One of Morgan's greatest achievements is the 2011 Michael Fassbender film Shame, a quiet, deliberate, and poetic look at a haunting, jarring sex addiction. The idea of Morgan teaming with a post-'07 Green is alone an odd bit of news, but the fact that these two are tackling a Little House on the Prairie movie might fuel some very stirring nightmares.
The wholesome-as-Grandma's-gingerbread 1970s drama (based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's 1930s book series) was indelibly sincere, both in its handling of the broader strokes of love and family values, and in some of its darker turns, dealing with prejudice and rape. But even episodes centering on such themes as these would not hold a candle to the dark, hellish mood encompassed by Morgan's Shame script. In fact, in light of the air of cynicism and self-awareness with which all modern projects are inherently battered, a Little House on the Prairie film would be hard pressed to capture the character of the original show.
So what kind of Little House are we in for? One with the cutting trauma that laced Shame? Something with the earnest romance present in each of Green's earlier movies? Or will this be a piece of go-for-broke madness, channeling Your Highness (hey, they're both period pieces!), The Sitter (children! families!), and Pineapple Express (people smoked pot on prairies in the 1800s, right?), to create a zany comedic look at the television classic? No matter what, we're prepared for something weird. But that doesn't mean it won't also be something very interesting.
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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When the opportunity arises to claim a parcel of land on the Kansas prairie, Charles Ingalls moves his family away from their Wisconsin home to build a better life.
Episode 2. Night Two
(AIR DATE 04/02/2005)
Laura and Mary are frightened by the arrival of Indians when Pa is away. Ma is thrilled to meet the Scott family, despite their weird manners. An illness forces the family to rely on a stranger's help.
Episode 3. Night Three
(AIR DATE 04/09/2005)
Pa tries his best to earn some money, but finds bartering with the townsfolk shopkeeper to be a frustrating situation. The Ingalls almost lose their home to a fire. Laura becomes fascinated by the Indians living nearby.
Episode 4. Night Four
(AIR DATE 04/16/2005)
A mountain lion attacks Pa. As more Indians set up camps nearby, the Ingalls family starts to feel menaced.
Episode 5. Night Five
(AIR DATE 04/23/2005)
The Indians are forced to relocate due to a treaty. While the rest of the Ingalls family are happy to see them leave, Laura is not. Soldiers threaten to take the Ingall's land, forcing them to move again.
Based on the real-life accounts of Laura Ingalls Wilder's tales of growing up on the American frontier as her family leaves their home in Wisconsin for the New Frontier of the West. They must brave the danger of Indians, the elements and other harsh realities of the time as they travel and make a new home but through the hardships they find strength in family and new friends.