Neil Gaiman, Jim Henson Co. to Produce Reimagining of THE STORYTELLER

Neil Gaiman, Jim Henson Co. to Produce Reimagining of THE STORYTELLER

Deadline reports that Jim Henson's The Storyteller, a popular 80s anthology series, will make a comeback. Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Good Omens) has partnered with the Jim Henson Company and Fremantle to develop a reimagined "Storyteller" for television.

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.

In the new incarnation, written and executive produced by Gaiman, The Storyteller will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore. It will be updated to work "for the binging kind" of viewer of today, Gaiman said.

"Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don't know.," he said. "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."

"The Storyteller has always been a special project for me, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept," said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. "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."

"The original Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It's a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I'm honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales," Gaiman said.

"We have our eye on lots of them and one of the things that was brilliant (about The Storyteller) was, they would take little known versions of well-known fairytales because every story comes in various different versions, and I think that's definitely something that I would love to keep going," Gaiman said.

Added Henson, "it gives the story the feeling of familiarity, but it's also very different."

Read the original story on Deadline.

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