Updating The Classics
Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement from thrupiecefilm that it was releasing the first in a series of animated feature films based on the Ladybone Brian's Adventures Series, comes news that the next collaboration with its Holwellwood partners - Threadny Studios - will bring Brian's Book of Disappointing Outcomes to the screen.
Long regarded as one of the more problematic Brian books - its tone is much less relentlessly upbeat than most of its stablemates - Brian's Book of Disappointing Outcomes concentrates, as its title implies, on a number of the child professor's less successful encounters.
Ladybone Archivist and Childrens' Literature Historian - Wan Suppona-Thyme - says the choice is unexpected but, in the present climate, completely understandable. "As is the case with many if not most Ladybone titles, the apparently simple stories carry a number of underlying allegorical inferences; moral lessons if you will, designed to help children cope with life's ups and downs as well as with a whole family of important contemporary issues. When they were first written the over-riding concerns of the day were sweet shortages, mothers who spat on their handkerchieves before cleaning your face and over-familiar "uncles" who demanded cuddles in return for unwanted gifts. Obviously in 2020 things have moved on, but it is a tribute to the awareness of the original authors as well as the flexibility of their narrative structures that these can easily be translated into a modern context without doing structural violence to the original. Hence the recent updated version has focused on issues surrounding LGBTQ+, BAME, BLM, paedophilia, CONTRIK-69, mental health, euthanasia, sustainability, global economic collapse, adiction, women's professional football and finding a competent plumber at 9pm on a Sunday evening - all things that concern and confront any curious 6-year-old". "It does no-one any harm to suggest that even a super-hero like Brian can struggle - and occasionally fail to properly negotiate - such difficult territory. Importantly the author's voice remains authentic and real. "
So will the film reflect this darker and edgier modern re-telling? For the time being it's anyone's guess as the film's producers have remained tight-lipped on the subject. Still fans of the rewrites - like Dewlish-based psychiatric nurse Pru Rient - can't wait to see what the Holwellwood creatives make of, for example, Brian's disastrous encounter with the transgender lollipop lady who exchanges sexual favours for drugs. [SPOILER: In what is one of Brian's more disappointing outcomes, unlike friend Peter, he doesn't "get it".