Freemantle Partnership Brings Reimagined Version of ‘Storytellers’ To The Small Screen

by Shaina Lucas
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Breaking news folks, for those of you who are fans of The Storyteller, we’ve got big news for you. The Jim Henson Company is partnering with Neil Gaiman and Freemantle to bring us a reimagined version to television. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, The Storyteller is an 80s anthology classic created by Jim Henson. We have the official press release for you below:

A perfect creative partner to bring The Storyteller to a new
audience, Gaiman is well-known for his far-reaching work in popularizing
folklore and mythology. From the mythological basis of his best-selling
novel American Gods to the African folklore of Anansi Boys, his body
of work is constantly reinterpreting classic stories, while also
including completely authentic collections like his recent Norse
Mythology book. In the new series, The Storyteller will create a
mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore that have been
passed down from generation to generation, designed for today’s
co-viewing audience.

Inspired by his daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and
mythology, Jim Henson created the original version of The Storyteller
in 1987 and directed multiple episodes. With top-notch talent in front
of and behind the camera, including Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella who
wrote all the episodes, the Emmy and BAFTA-winning live-action
television series featured creatures brought to life by Jim Henson’s
Creature Shop and provided a re-telling of various European folk tales,
with a mysterious elfin storyteller (played by the late John Hurt). The
world of The Storyteller was inhabited by various mystical and magical
characters – heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions and human
hedgehogs – exploring themes such as fear, desire, death and destiny,
and challenging notions about good and evil.

‘There is currently nothing like The Storyteller in the television
landscape and the themes these stories will explore are even more
critically important today,’ said Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted
Entertainment, Fremantle, North America. ‘We are honored to be working
with Lisa Henson and her illustrious company to bring their esteemed
property back to television, and to be yet again partnering with Neil on
another project that will further showcase his brilliant narrative

The Storyteller has been a longtime favorite for our fans who
appreciate the beautiful artistry and faithful visualizing of these
classic tales.  It has always been a special project for me as well,
having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept,’ said Lisa
Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. ‘Neil Gaiman is an expert in
traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the
modern ‘storyteller’ for our times.  It is especially exciting to have
Neil’s reimagining of the series brought to life by our Creature Shop,
allowing us to share these classic stories with a whole new audience all
around the world.’

‘Jim Henson was always ahead of his time,” said Neil Gaiman. ‘He found
ways to retell folk and fairy tales for a televisual generation. The
original The Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told
set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what
Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and
I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task
of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending
him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.’

The Storyteller will be produced by Fremantle in association with The
Jim Henson Company, with Lisa Henson serving as executive producer and
Blanca Lista as co-executive producer.  Gaiman, who has a long-standing
relationship with Fremantle, will also serve as executive producer. He
currently is in post-production with Fremantle on the second season of
American Gods for STARZ and will also executive produce the company’s
upcoming project, Gormenghast, an episodic series based on the
critically acclaimed fantasy book series by Mervyn Peake.

StoryTeller behind the scenes, production on set. John Hurt (L, the storyteller) reviewing the script with Jim Henson.

How many of you can’t wait?!

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