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This is The Tale of the Reworked Nickelodeon Screenplay. Back in December, it was confirmed that D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye) would be helming the live-action film adaptation of the classic Nick horror anthology series, Are You Afraid of the Dark? Nevertheless, the feature's screenplay is still being polished with the latest draft coming from The Prodigy director, Nicholas McCarthy.
"I actually just turned in the script and we’re all pretty excited about it," he told SYFY WIRE. "I think the target is to shoot it this summer. I’ve had an absolute blast. There’s been a couple of writers before who have tried to crack it, and I think I’ve done it with this version. I love the series, too, and I’ve already had an amazing time writing it. The people that are behind it also love the series and it’s just been really really cool."
The "couple of writers" to which McCarthy refers are Gary Dauberman (It: Chapters 1 & 2) and BenDavid Grabinski (Skiptrace). When he was still writing an earlier draft of the screenplay last September, Dauberman promised that he would be sticking to the spirit of the original series, which could be incredibly frightening at times. McCarthy also went back to the beloved source material, rewatching those episodes that are truly representative of the show as a whole.
"I couldn’t watch all 90 or whatever it is, but I revisited a huge ton of them," he continued with a laugh. "I shouldn’t say too much more about it because I don’t know how they’re gonna frame what they’re doing with it. I don’t think any of the other writers who have been on it before have talked about the direction of the big screen version, but as a fan of the series and as someone who has really enjoyed going back and watching them, I’ve been really keen to try to capture the spirit of what makes that show so great."
Originally slated to open Oct. 11 of this year, it is now unclear when the movie version of Are You Afraid of the Dark? will reach theater-going audiences. After all, if the project plans to shoot over the summer, there's almost no way it can make a fall 2019 release. Indeed, we may have to wait until Halloween of 2020 (most high-profile horror films usually open around the spooky holiday) to see it.
In addition, McCarthy confirmed that the tie-in miniseries, set to air on Nickelodeon this October (unless it's being pushed off with the film's production schedule), is still happening, although he isn't involved with it in any way.
Created by D. J. MacHale and Ned Kandel, Are You Afraid of the Dark? ran for a total of 91 episodes across seven seasons between 1990 and 2000. That includes the short-lived revival at the turn of the millenium, which ran on SNICK, Nickelodeon's programming block geared toward older and more mature viewers. Throughout its lifetime, the show featured young actors who would go on to become major Hollywood stars like Ryan Gosling, Neve Campbell, Emily VanCamp, Jay Baruchel, and Hayden Christensen.