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After first throwing the storybook adventure on its bloody head in video game form more than two decades ago, the video game franchise American McGee’s Alice is making the jump to the small screen.
The video game first hit shelves in 2000, with a Mature-rated action adventure that took Lewis Carroll’s classic story of Alice in Wonderland and turned it into a dark, twisted version of the story we thought we knew. It was a smart, well-executed and genuinely scary game, receiving plenty of acclaim and becoming a cult hit in the years since. A 2011 sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, was also a solid hit that expanded the universe of the first game.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Radar Pictures has picked up the TV rights and hired David Hayter (X-Men, Warrior Nun) to put together an adaptation, along with Abandon Entertainment. No network or streaming service has been attached to the project yet, but it’s certainly one with some name cache in the video game realm, so it stands to reason some platform will step in to give it a home.
Check out the trailer for Alice: Madness Returns below if you need a feel for the vibe:
“American McGee’s Alice and Alice: Madness Returns game series is a groundbreaking reimagining of the classic tale. It takes you into the heart of a corrupted Wonderland and throws light into shadowy corners the world has never seen,” Hayter said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter. “I am beyond excited to bring this world of madness and wonder to a global audience.”
The game’s creator, the namesake American McGee of American McGee’s Alice, also threw his support behind the adaptation news. Along with having some input on the adaptation, McGee is also aiming to expand the video game universe with Alice: Asylum. He also has his eyes on the Wizard of Oz franchise, developing the game Oz: Adventures.
“David Hayter brings imagination, experience, and stealth sneaking skills gained through successful missions in film, TV, and video games – a unique combination sure to make this adventure into Wonderland a successful one for the franchise and the fans,” McGee added in a statement. “I am excited to be working with him and know the Alice fans will welcome him with mad affection.”
The story of the original game, and likely the TV adaptation, picks up after Alice returns from her storybook adventure to find her parents dead and her home destroyed. After becoming suicidal she is institutionalized, until she eventually returns to a much more twisted version of Wonderland that has been reinterpreted by her damaged psyche.
For 20 years ago, it's a mind-bending story a bit ahead of its time. But for the modern era? It feels like this could be the perfect time to tell this story in a new way.