When the news broke last week that director Adam Shankman would be helming a new feature film version of The Nutcracker, fans of Shankman’s career could be excused for assuming the movie would evoke the classic ballet The Nutcracker that generations of children have grown up
falling asleep to watching every Christmas season. For one thing, Shankman started his career in showbiz as a dancer, then became a choreographer before directing high-profile movie musicals like Hairspray and next year’s highly anticipated Rock of Ages. Plus, he’s been a regular presence as a judge on Fox’s summer hit So You Think You Can Dance.
But when EW caught up this weekend with Shankman at Trevor Live, a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, the filmmaker was clear: There would be no pointe shoes in his version of The Nutcracker. “There are some celebrations in the story and there could be dancing at the celebrations,” he told EW, “but other than that, no. It is absolutely not going to be a full-on ballet. No ballet.”
Instead, he said the film will draw from the original story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann, which inspired the famed Tchaikovsky ballet. “It hasn’t been told in the same vein as these new action-adventure fairy tale films, and yet it is definitely an action-adventure story,” said Shankman. “I didn’t want to do it if it wasn’t that concept….And we are going back to the original story too, because the ballet actually was a bit of a departure. So I am going back to the darker more action/adventure version. More like Snow White and the Huntsmen, [the Johnny Depp] Alice in Wonderland. It is in that vein.”
Besides, Shankman said, “I couldn’t touch it as a musical or as a dance piece because it’s been done too much and too well.”
(Reporting by Carrie Bell)