Chris Columbus has directed some of the greatest family films of all time, from Home Alone to Mrs. Doubtfire, and the first two Harry Potter movies. Now, the filmmaker is taking his talents to Disney+, as he is developing a series based on the House of Secrets.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Columbus is teaming with his 26th Street Pictures partners, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe, to develop the trio of novels for Disney. The fantasy series will reportedly be live-action.
“Chris, Michael and Mark tell stories that resonate with multiple audiences, across generations and genres that deliver a sense of magic and wonderment through definitional characters,” said Ayo Davis, executive vice president, Creative Development and Strategy, Disney Branded Television. “There is so much affinity for their acclaimed films, and we are delighted to be working with them to develop House of Secrets into a thrilling Disney+ series.”
House of Secrets is an adventure story about three children, Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor, who are sent into three mashed-up books written by Denver Kristoff by the Wind Witch.
The main characters are Cordelia: a 15-year-old girl who loves books and cares for her siblings. Brendan who is 12 years old, loves playing on his PSP and tries really hard to protect his sisters. Finally, Eleanor, an 8-year-old girl who is dyslexic. She loves her family and is very determined. In order to get home from the book world into which they are sent, and which is inhabited by pirates, warriors, and freedom fighters, they must do what the Wind Witch wants them to do – even if this means being horribly selfish.
Columbus originally began working on the House of Secrets in 1999 as a screenplay entitled Stones of Time but chose to adapt it into a novel after realizing that the film would be too expensive to produce at that time and also because of his obligations for the Harry Potter film series. Due to his inexperience with writing novels, Columbus brought in Vizzini to assist in the writing of the novel. Columbus and Vizzini wrote the book by the two e-mailing the first few chapters back and forth until they had “about 100 pages”. They sent the completed portion of the book to publishers and were picked up within about 1–2 days. After completing the manuscript, Columbus and Vizzini solicited the advice of J.K. Rowling, who recommended that they add more character development to the novel as it “[moved] too fast”.