Terry Pratchett's WEE FREE MEN to be adapted to film by The Jim Henson Company

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Terry Pratchett

These days, the real money for writers lies in having their books adapted to films. And while this works for a lot of the successful contemporary writer, it was never really an option for one of the most successful authors of all time. And I’m talking about Terry Pratchett, who in my opinion, is the best author ever. He sadly passed away last year after suffering from Alzheimer’s, but that has just made his stories more revered than ever. Bias aside though, one of the reasons why Pratchett’s books have never really made it into the cinema world despite his critical acclaim and massive sales, is because his books are too weird to translate well to screen.

Even in this modern day of incredible visual effects, it would be difficult to translate the bizarre worlds or stories Pratchett is seemingly able to create in his head. And perhaps I’m been a little disingenuous here, as some studios have attempted an animated version of the stories, but none have succeeded in really capturing that magic. There was also been studios who have toyed with the idea of a live-action film version ,but could never settle on a screenplay that worked for them or Terry Pratchett himself, who was very careful how his characters were adapted across different mediums.  However, it looks like the Jim Henson Company wants to take a shot at making one. And this time it may actually work – because the adaptation will be done by none other than Terry’s own daughter –Rhianna Pratchett.

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Rhianna Pratchett is a talented writer in her own right and received high acclaim for writing the recent Tomb Raider video game reboot. The work she did in retelling the story of a younger Lara Croft was phenomenal and shows that she knows how to take a well established character and still bring something fresh to them, while creating the right narrative for the medium as well.

This time though she will be more likely to stick closer to the source material of her beloved father. The story they are looking to bring to the big screen is Wee Free Men, an adventure about a nine-year-old girl who teams up with a troupe of small, kilted blue men to defeat an evil queen. I’m not sure why they have chosen this particular story among Terry’s vast collection of stories, but it wouldn’t be the first time they have tried to adapt this story either.

wee free men

In 2006, Sony Pictures acquired the rights for the book and hired Sam Raimi to direct it. Pratchett however hated the script, having previously told SFX magazine that it “had all the hallmarks of something that had been good, and then the studio had got involved”. He retrieved the rights in 2009, which has seemingly now been given to Jim Henson to work with, following the script from his daughter.

As a Pratchett fan, I’m excited to see what could come out of this plan. Firstly, Jim Henson studios is likely the right type of studio to take on this type of project. However, even more so, that the film will have the passion and talent of his daughter in the background and hopefully if it is a success, there could be more films to follow, especially as Wee Free Men was the first of a series of five books. As The Guardian surmised:

The series featured a race of characters known as the Nac Mac Feegles, Pratchett’s spin on the mischievous fairies of Victorian children’s stories. In Pratchett’s world, the charismatic clan speak in broad Glaswegian and spend their time drinking, fighting and stealing. The book’s protagonist, Tiffany Aching, befriends them after she realises she is one of a very few human beings who can see them.

If you could see one of Terry Pratchett’s novel’s brought to the big screen, which one would it be?

Last Updated: July 25, 2016

Craig Risi

A man of many talents, but no sense how to use them. I could be out changing the world, but I'd rather be running, watching movies, playing games and writing here instead.

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