Sleeping Beauty as Stalker…

With Disney in production on a Sleeping Beauty film with  Angelina Jolie starring Maleficent, producer Neal Moritz is moving forward with a comedy take of  the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale that turns the slumbering sweetie into a pesky stalker.

The 21 Jump Street producer is developing a modern-day retelling that finds the male protagonist accidentally awakening Sleeping Beauty and finding that he can’t get rid of the lovestruck heroine.

Hollywood Reporter‘s description (not verbatim since it was filled with typos) sounds too much like a repeat of the smackdown between Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror, and we all know who won that one.   In my NEH Seminar on Fairy Tales and Fantasy Literature, we looked yesterday at Gustave Dore’s illustrations for “Sleeping Beauty” and noted the stark contrast between the luminous sleeping princess and the dark, almost shadow-like representation of the prince.  The light streams in through the window on him but it illuminates the sleeping princess.  It was fascinating to see how this illustration is one of the few from the 19th century that does not orientalize and aesthetisize the figure of Sleeping Beauty.

If anyone is stalking anyone in the early versions of the tale, it’s the prince/king, so there is a certain logic to reversing roles, as happens so often in modern rescriptings.  And in some ways, it seems intriguing to turn a sleeping beauty, the most passive fairy-tale creature imaginable, into a predator bent on pursuing the man who kissed her awake (or raped her, as in Basile’s version of the tale).