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Seventies TV shows seem to be rife for adaptation in our modern age of cinematic product, but they don't always guarantee the nostalgic drive they seek to inspire. For every Charlie's Angels there's a Starsky And Hutch waiting to piss everyone off. Yet somehow, a movie reboot of Little House On The Prairie isn't the worst idea that could be floated past our very eyes.
According to a scoop from The Hollywood Reporter, director Sean Durkin, the man who brought Martha Marcy May Marlene to the screen back in 2011, is negotiating to head up the project based on a script by The Iron Lady scribe Abi Morgan. Scott Rudin is producing, and the film is being set up with Sony as the studio backing it. The original Little House On The Prairie series ran from 1974 to 1983. It adapted the autobiographical works of Laura Ingalls Wilder, as she recalled her childhood in the frontier of late 19th century America.
Little House On The Prairie was also known for its squeaky clean moral fiber, as the original series spun stories that can either be adapted at face value or for comedic material. While it's too early to tell just what type of approach they'll be taking, there's actually cause for celebration with this news. To start, Abi Morgan is a brilliant writer who also can claim the Michael Fassbender vehicle Shame and BBC's The Hour, both of which have claimed their fair share of fans and critics alike. While the subject matter in its original form can be seen as overtly wholesome at best (and absolutely hysterical at worst), Morgan's writing chops could serve to bring a gravity to the project that most would not expect.
Sealing the deal is the presence of Sean Durkin. His work on Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene showcased a visual palette that knew how to enhance that film's drama, without being too showy. On top of that, should Durkin be signed on for Little House On The Prairie, he already has two really good actors he could call in to work with him on the project: Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes, both of whom he's worked with on Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene. With both of those actors having experience in the Western milieu on Deadwood, as well as the experience with Durkin's directorial hand, this could be a project that not only works, but manages to gain some awards attention in the Oscar race following it.
For a series that almost sounds like it's rife for a modern-day parody, Little House On The Prairie could actually stand a chance to become a good idea. Sony seems to be doing a good job lining up talent that could take this baby to picture, and if the talents of Sean Durkin win over the talents of Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes yet again, we could see a film that surpasses the memory of the original series. Just like the planned reboot of The Rockford Files with Vince Vaughn, this stands a chance of turning what sounds like a bad idea into something that's much better off.