Reimagining The Secret Garden for a new generation

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By: AP |

Published: August 9, 2020 9:37:07 am





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Like so many movies throughout the coronavirus pandemic, The Secret Garden was meant to be a huge display screen expertise. (Photo: STXfilms through AP)

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s kids’s traditional The Secret Garden has been tailored into a number of movies, tv sequence and even a Broadway musical. But it had been 27 years since Mary Lennox had final been dedicated to movie and the time appeared ripe for one other go to to Misselthwaite Manor. Like Little Women, each generation is entitled to its personal model.

Producer Rosie Alison of Heyday Films (the store behind the Paddington films) had been enchanted by the 1911 novel as a little one and the 1949 MGM model with Margaret O’Brien. She was sure that it held an enchantment for fashionable kids, who maybe didn’t have to succeed in again too far for a connection to the fabric — a generation who grew up with Agnieszka Holland’s 1993 model are additionally now grown with kids of their very own.

“It’s such a beautiful, redemptive fable,” she stated. “It’s about damaged, slightly misfit children who are lonely and find friendship in nature. Parents think they’ll be bored, but I find that a lot of kids really get into it.”

secret garden, colin firth, secret garden colin firth Colin Firth in a scene from The Secret Garden. (Photo: STXfilms through AP)

They discovered supportive collaborators in StudioCanal, who have been additionally companions on the Paddington movies and are at all times wanting for household fare. Alison stated they weren’t exhausting to influence, however, “Everybody treaded a little nervously about the fact that it’s not a huge action adventure with branded characters.”

Marc Munden (National Treasure) was enlisted to direct, they bought Colin Firth and Julie Walters on board and watched round 800 tapes to search out their excellent Mary. The half would go to 12-year-old Dixie Egerickx, who displayed a “remarkable intelligence” and understanding of the character.

“She’s not really your traditional heroine,” Egerickx, who’s now 15, stated. “What I like about her is she’s quite complex. She’s initially very unpleasant, rude and unlikable but we learn that’s because she’s lonely and she doesn’t have anyone.”

Marc Munden, left, and Dixie Egerickx throughout the filming of The Secret Garden. (Photo: STXfilms through AP)

The filmmakers got a comparatively modest finances for a movie with visible results ($20 million). But even with the weather of magical realism, many of the out of doors scenes have been shot on location, together with the backyard itself. It was determined early on that it’d be unattainable to “invent” nature on a soundstage and thus the filmmakers set off on a 50-garden journey round Yorkshire, North Wales, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall to search out the proper mixture of settings for the enchanting, deserted backyard.

“It sticks more to Mary’s imagination and her subjective view of the world, and there are slightly more fluid boundaries between her way of seeing and the world around her,” Alison stated. “Now, when she goes into the garden, it just seems boundless, because that’s how it is to a child.”

In order to make it a little much less distant for fashionable kids, the filmmakers introduced the story ahead a few a long time from its Edwardian roots. It nonetheless needed to be previously, Alison stated. Things like little one providers and well being and security could be concerned if it have been too fashionable.

But now, as an alternative of 1911, it’s set in 1947 in a post-World War II framework. Still, many of the notes will really feel acquainted. Mary nonetheless hails from India, her mother and father nonetheless die of cholera and Archibald Craven (Firth) is simply as distant and ghostly as ever.

Like so many movies throughout the coronavirus pandemic, The Secret Garden was meant to be a huge display screen expertise. Now, it’s at the moment obtainable as a video on demand launch within the U.S. It shall be getting a theatrical run within the UK in October, nevertheless. And whereas the scenario is disappointing, Alison is making an attempt to give attention to the larger image

“Hopefully there will be over the years to come, a lonely 9-year-old who has plopped in front of a TV and discovers this and it really means something to them,” Alison stated. “I would love for it to give hope to children.”

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