Fairbanks Ditches Pimpernel For “Ivanhoe”

Fairbanks Productions has shelved plans to shoot a £75 million new take on “The Scarlet Pimpernel” in favour of a £50 million new adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s classic 1820 adventure “Ivanhoe” says The Hollywood Reporter.

With a change in European Union copyright laws extending them from 50 to 70 years, film adaptation rights to Baroness Orczy’s classic Scarlet Pimpernel are no longer in the public domain in the U.K., which means the company’s plans have been put on hold for around five years until the rights become freely available again.

Brit actor Neil Jackson (“Upstairs, Downstairs,” “Quantum of Solace”) is producing and currently writing a draft of “Ivanhoe”, which is in the public domain, and the family adventure-focused Fairbanks Productions is fast tracking it to shoot at Twickenham Studios in London late next year.

Set in 1194 after the failure of the Third Crusade, the story follows Wilfred of Ivanhoe, a Saxon who is out of favor with his father for his allegiance to the Norman king Richard I of England (aka Richard the Lionheart). What follows is a complicated story with many intersecting character arcs and subplots which include Robin Hood as a supporting character.

Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor starred in the famous 1952 film adaptation, though various small screen versions have been done since then.

Fairbanks Productions is currently in pre-production on Shaune Harrison’s “Kill the Dead” about a reality TV show where contestants kill people recently brought back to life for that purpose.