REUTERS

REUTERS

New Line has picked up a pitch from Darren Lemke, the writer behind the studio's Bryan Singer-directed project Jack the Giant Killer, that reimagines the classic tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King as an action-adventure movie.

Nutcracker is best known as the Christmas ballet with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, but the story was written by E.T.A. Hoffmann decades before the ballet's debut in 1892.

The story centers on a 12-year-old girl, her brother and sister, who receive gifts from their clockmaker-inventor godfather on Christmas Eve, one of which is a Nutcracker doll. That night, the girl embarks on an adventure that includes a war involving a seven-headed Mouse King and his army of mice.

The story, with its themes of ugliness and beauty, has been adapted into various forms of animation, and the ballet version has found itself on screens many times.

The update, produced by Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey of Temple Hill Entertainment, will be written in a family-adventure tone similar to The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Lemke has worked often with folk and fairy tales; in addition to writing Giant, he worked on DreamWorks Animation's fairy tale-skewing Shrek Forever After. He also worked with Temple Hill on an update of The Wizard of Oz.

I like the classic stories, but only if you can find a way to embrace them, without betraying them, and tell the tale with a forward thrust, making them feel modern, he said.

Lemke also worked on The Mechanic, in production, and Gemini Man, set up at Disney.