Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Banks are teaming up to produce a film adaptation of The Paper Bag Princess, a genre-subverting fairytale written by Robert Munsch. The pair acquired the rights to this feminist children’s book after something of a bidding war, working with Universal and their own companies (Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment and Banks’ Brownstone Productions) to seal the deal.
Munsch’s book, which has illustrations by Michael Martchenko, was first published in 1980. It chronicles the journey of Princess Elizabeth, who is due to marry a prince. However, when a dragon attacks, kidnaps the prince and burns all of her clothes, Elizabeth must use her resourcefulness to win the day. It’s a fun subversion of the usual fairytale tropes, and it clearly won the hearts of readers, selling ten million copies worldwide.
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Banks, who has Pitch Perfect 2 on her directorial resume, will take to the director’s chair once more on The Paper Bag Princess, according to THR. Katie Silberman, who has the features Set It Up (starring Zoe Deutch and Lucy Liu) and Isn’t It Romantic (with Priyanka Chopra and Rebel Wilson) currently in post-production, is attached to write the screenplay. If that script is strong, and if the schedules align, Robbie is expected to star in the movie.
Unlike the much-discussed Lord of the Flies reboot (which has a female cast but male behind-the-scenes talent), it’s refreshing to hear that this feminist movie will actually be produced, directed, and written by women. If Banks and Robbie can pull it off, this could well become a defining fairy tale film, offering a winning alternative to the clichéd damsel in distress narrative. If all goes well, this movie could inspire and empower a generation of young women, as well as offering some engaging entertainment.
Of course, the film would garner a lot of publicity if Robbie did star in it. There aren’t many stars of her magnitude on the circuit at the moment, and Robbie’s presence in posters and trailers would do a lot to garner hype. However, her schedule is packed already: as well as various DC projects (she’s been linked with Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens and a Harley Quinn/Joker spinoff), she also has Mary Queen Of Scots on her slate, and is reportedly circling Quentin Tarantino’s Manson family movie.
Banks is a busy woman, too. As well as The Paper Bag Princess, she is developing a Charlie’s Angels reboot to direct. That film is expected to be a star-studded affair, as well, with Kristen Stewart and Lupita Nyong’o linked to the project. The Paper Bag Princess will have to wait its turn in both Banks and Robbie’s slates, then. Universal may have to wait a while to get the film made, but surely the payoff will be worth it in the end.
The Paper Bag Princess does not yet have a release date.