Even with films such as Wreck It Ralph and Planes in their more recent output, Disney will forever be synonymous with fairy tales, and they don’t mind reminding us every few years. And while magically fantastical romances don’t always sit well with me, I’ve got a vested interest in Happily Ever After, which THR reports is a pitch the company bought from screenwriter Nahnatchka Khan, best known for creating the ABC series Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Reese Witherspoon is attached to star, which tells you how high on the food chain this project is.
The reason why I’m interested is Happily Ever After will be a spin on traditional stories, as it follows a princess and her prince ten years or so after their stereotypical love story ended “happily ever after,” and they realize living in fairy tale land doesn’t necessarily mean trouble-free life, and that healthy relationships take effort. Of course, I’m not sure what age group this is being aimed at, but I think it sounds like a fresh enough idea for any age group. The goal here should be to get a really visual filmmaker like Bryan Fuller, who mastered the art of televised fantasy with Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.
But even if the look of the film isn’t quirky, I think having a comedy writer like Khan is a step in the right direction. She was a writer and executive producer on Fox’s American Dad for years before moving on with her own series. So there should be some sharp wit in this screenplay. She currently has a pilot titled Fatrick lined up at Fox with screenwriting/directing duo Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, and is working on an untitled Russell Brand series also at Fox.
Witherspoon, who is producing Happily Ever After through her Pacific Standard imprint, is a strong choice for the lead. Having won an Oscar for playing June Carter in James Mangold’s Walk the Line, Witherspoon is obviously capable of singing her way through a performance, as is normal in a Disney film. It’ll be interesting to see who is cast to be her prince. I just hope it's someone well-versed in comedy. (This means no Gerard Butler.)
This could potentially be one of the strongest periods in Witherspoon’s career, with a small but memorable role in last year’s Mud, and a handful of prestigious films coming soon. Next up, she’ll star in the West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot, and then there’s Philippe Farlardeau’s Sudanese refugee drama The Good Lie, the Nick Hornby-penned Adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s star-studded adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.
Below is Witherspoon performing Jukebox Blues, a song that has no Disney counterpart.