Daniel Barnz, who is adapting and directing a film version of Alex Flinn's novel Beastly, said that the movie could be the next Twilight. It may not have the following of Stephenie Meyer's series of vampire novels, but it deals with a teen perspective on the fantastical Beauty and the Beast story.
"It is a studio film that's a kind of dark teen romance," Barnes said in a group interview last week in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting his debut feature film, Phoebe in Wonderland. "It's sort of a curious mixture of Juno, Twilight and Say Anything. The premise is this incredibly magnetic good-looking 17-year-old guy is transformed into somebody who is hideously ugly and must find love in order to reverse that. So there are shades of Beauty and the Beast in it."
Barnz is still casting the project for CBS Films. "We're shooting it this spring, so we're just beginning preproduction," he said.
Barnz anticipates bringing an indie sensibility to Flinn's story. "It's a very commercial idea that I get to tell in a highly artistic fashion," he said. "There are certain elements of kind of fable which intersect with that one as well, so it's kind of a great next project."
Phoebe in Wonderland also deals with a world of fantasy. Phoebe, suffering from undiagnosed Tourette's syndrome, escapes into the world of Alice in Wonderland. Barnz explained his continuing theme of fantasy in Beastly.
"I think I've always been just drawn to magical realism in film," Barnz said. "Some of my favorite films have that element to it. Heavenly Creatures was a huge inspiration. But I think because I had such a kind of rich, imaginary world when I was a kid, that always just felt like that was what you'd want to include in stories. Now that I have children, I feel it sort of doubly so." Beastly is scheduled for release in 2010.