Filmmaker Chris Columbus is no stranger to family friendly fantasy adventures, having written the script for Gremlins and The Goonies in the 1980s, and then directed Harry Potter‘s big screen debut and more recently The Christmas Chronicles 2. Now Columbus is adapting House of Secrets for Disney+ from his own trilogy of novels that he co-wrote with Ned Vizzini back in 2013. The new series is being developed by the director with his 26th Street Pictures partners, Mark Radcliffe and Michael Barnathan, but it is currently too early in production to guess when we will be seeing the series arrive on the Disney+ platform other than to say it is likely to be a couple of years.
“Chris, Michael and Mark tell stories that resonate with multiple audiences, across generations and genres that deliver a sense of magic and wonderment through definitional characters,” said executive vice president of Creative Development and Strategy at Disney Branded Television, Ayo Davis. “There is so much affinity for their acclaimed films, and we are delighted to be working with them to develop House of Secrets into a thrilling Disney+ series.”
Columbus was inspired to write the novels after seeing the impact the Harry Potter series had on children and young adults, and he considers it as a kind of cousin to The Goonies, which never got its own sequel. The story follows the three Walker children, Cordelia, Brendan and Eleanor, who are not happy when their parents decide to buy the creepy Kristoff House, and it doesn’t get any better when the house is demolished by the mysterious Dahlia Kristoff, who claims to be the “Wind Witch” and the daughter of the house’s original owner, Denver Kristoff. Suddenly the children realise that they are no longer in the real world and are instead trapped inside a story written by Denver Kristoff and must locate a magical book, through dangerous and crazy adventures if they hope to escape back to the real world.
Columbus originally worked on the premise as a screenplay called Stones of Time, but at the time, there was no way to making the movie without it costing too much to be produced, so he decided instead to take the idea down a novel route. Having no previous experience in writing novels, Columbus partnered with Vizzini, and after collaborating by email, the pair came up with a 100-page section which was picked up by a publisher in days of being speculatively sent out. After enlisting some advice from Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling about character development, the novel was published to a mostly positive set of reviews. The full trilogy was previously slated to be adapted into a movie in 2014, but while filming was supposed to start in January that year, it never happened.
Disney have been adding a number of big fantasy projects to their streaming slate recently, seemingly attempting to catch up with the likes of Netflix and Amazon who have taken on a number of big fantasy series’ recently, including the upcoming Lord of The Rings series from the latter. With their franchise’s firing on all cylinders at the moment, it looks like the House of Mouse are now looking to add more potential franchises to their catalog, and in principle, House of Secrets seems to be a perfect fit. Just don’t expect Chris Columbus to watch their Home Alone reboot. This comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.