The Storyteller: Neil Gaiman, Jim Henson Co. reimagining anthology series
Deadline is reporting that The Storyteller anthology series will be reimagined by Fremantle Media, The Jim Henson Company, and author/TV writer-producer Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Good Omens).
Inspired by his daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and mythology, Jim Henson created the original version of The Storyteller in 1987 and directed multiple episodes, with Oscar winner Anthony Minghella writing all the episodes. The Emmy and BAFTA-winning live-action TV series featured creatures by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in a re-telling of various European folk tales, with a mysterious elfin storyteller (played by John Hurt). The world of The Storyteller was inhabited by various mystical and magical characters — heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions, and human hedgehogs — exploring themes such as fear, desire, death and destiny, and challenging notions about good and evil.
Written and executive produced by Gaiman, the updated version of The Storyteller will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore. It will be updated “for the binging” viewer of today, Gaiman told the outlet.
“Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don’t know. Who was the Storyteller, why was he telling these stories, was he a goblin, what kind of creature? What I’d love to do is an inside story that’s as long as the outside story. We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is, we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know. We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed. If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive,” said Gaiman.
“The Storyteller has always been a special project for me, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept. Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times. I feel like if Neil were an actor, he’d have to play (the Storyteller) because he embodies what the storyteller is, a skillful wordsmith who can entertain people with the power of the story itself, and not to mention he also memorizes it all in his head,” added Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company.
Gaiman and Henson wouldn’t reveal which fairytales will be included in the project, but they did imply that they will be using the “out-of-the-box approach to hiring directors that was used on the original series.”
The Storyteller will be produced by Fremantle in association with The Jim Henson Company. Lisa Henson will serve as executive producer alongside Gaiman, with Blanca Lista co-executive producing.