'Artemis Fowl' Director Kenneth Branagh Explains Book Changes, Sequel Plans
The director weighs in on some of his long-standing collaborations, including with Christopher Nolan, as well as the status of 'Death on the Nile.'
Comicbook.com, 9 June 2020
'Artemis Fowl' is gearing up for a release on Disney+, launching what could be a franchise adapting a story which has been told through eight books written by Eoin Colfer. In bringing the books to live-action life for a movie, director Kenneth Branagh took on a script which borrows story points from those books, especially the second in the run, mashing some threads from different books into one opening saga while also creating some unique and original bits for the film. Branagh opened up about the strategy of adapting these books to film in an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com.
"Well, you know they're eight books, they get increasingly exotic. Amazing imagination Eoin Colfer has," Branagh said. "Some of the twist and turns, and incidents are so out there. The first book has a relative simplicity, Eoin calls it "Diehard" with fairies. It's a siege movie and inside that, what fell to us to be inside all of that action would be the emotional backbone that you could get, would be if we could just take the minimum, just one basic incident from the second book, Artemis Fowl in the Arctic Incident, which is the kidnap of his father, and lace that into the first story, so that the emotional drive was there, that maybe allows our audience to connect to Artemis emotionally." This sounds like a similar to the approach Branagh took for 2011's 'Thor'.
"You keep the basic structure of a kid who, by the time he understands that magic is real, has created a siege from another world around Fowl Manor," he explained. "So those were the two elements we tried to keep as close to the source as possible, of what Eoin had done, once we decided those things."
'Artemis Fowl' is often compared to Harry Potter. It's a story dealing with magic and young characters learning how to use it within their ever-expanding worlds. In that regard, there remains a possibility of seeing Artemis Fowl star Ferdia Shaw grow up on screen the same way the world watched Daniel Radcliffe and the Potter cast emerge before their is.
"There is [a possibility], and, well, who knows?" Branagh says, having been a part of the Potter franchise himself as Gilderoy Lockhart. "The audience decides, for sure, and I think there are lots of things that I think have immense potential."
Much of the groundwork for potential sequels is laid out in this first Artemis Fowl movie and it seems Branagh already has ideas for what might come further down the line. "The rivalry, the adversarial quality, the friendship between Holly and and Artemis, the double-act that is Artemis and Butler is a delicious component, and I think you've got all the promise and potential for Juliette, the crankiness of the Commander Root character, plus all the incidents you refer to, so I think the material's there," says Branagh. "The difficulty with these things, particularly when you have the massive shadow of the gargantuan success that Potter is, is that they can be intimidating, so I think anything that follows is tricky, but we've given it our best shot. The material's there, the performers are great, and if the audience want it, we'll be coming back at them."
ComicBook.com's full interview with Branagh can be seen in the video above. Are you hoping to see 'Artemis Fowl' become a franchise adapting more of the books? Share your thoughts in th comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter!
'Artemis Fowl' is now available on Disney+.