Deadline reports that Universal Studios has acquired a pitch for a new film version of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, The Secret Garden. The new adaptation is set to be scripted by Beasts of the Southern Wild scribe Lucy Alibar.
Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Johnson, who were previously behind 2011’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, are in line as producers. Previous reports that Del Toro will direct would seem to be impossible due to the numerous projects he is currently involved with (including, but not limited to, promoting Pacific Rim and developing its sequel, adapting Pan’s Labyrinth into a stage musical and directing both the haunted house horror film Crimson Peak and the pilot to the FX series The Strain).
The original Burnett novel concerns a recently orphaned British girl who is sent to live with her mysterious and reclusive uncle in Yorkshire. There, she discovers a hidden garden with magical properties. The novel has been the source of several film adaptations (most recently, a version in 1993 with Maggie Smith) as well as a Broadway musical. According to the Deadline report, the pitch for this new version has the story transported to the American South at the turn of the 20th century.