Charles Dickens fans are in store for some good news and bad news today; the good news is that Sony is set to produce a new adaptation of Dickens's second novel, "Oliver Twist." The bad news is that it comes with a twist: instead of faithfully adapting the original novel, "Dodge and Twist" will instead pick up twenty years later and focus on the title character and his rival, Artful Dodger.
In this new take on the old story, Oliver and Dodger find themselves "on opposite sides of the law," as the latter is apparently still up to his thieving ways. He's apparently graduated to full-time heisting, however, as both he and Oliver become "embroiled in an affair to steal the crown jewels."
Cole Haddon will be writing the script, and the film said to be "taking a page out of the recent Robert Downey Jr.-starring Sherlock Holmes films." I suppose "Dodge and Twist" will do for 19th century orphans what those films did for 19th century sleuths by unexpectedly turning them into action stars.
Hannah Minghella and Andrea Giannetti will produce alongside Matt Tolmach and Ahmet Zappa, who hatched the idea in the first place. According to THR, the project "is considered a favorite of the production team and is on the development fast track."
Screenwriter Haddon is a Hollywood newcomer who has been developing a "Dracula" series with NBC. That show is currently in the casting stage and has already secured Thomas Kretschmann and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who will assume the role of Van Helsing).
Meanwhile, this "Oliver Twist" update has come out of left field and perhaps proves that Hollywood is desperate to latch onto any sort of pre-existing property instead of simply developing a wholly original film. If nothing else, this is a good day for aficionados of Dickensian fan-fiction.