Working Title has tapped screenwriter Jon Croker (“The Woman in Black 2”) to bring Enid Blyton’s “The Famous Five” to the screen again, in the first live-action adaptation since the 1970s, when it aired as a TV series on Britain’s ITV. (The Children’s Film Foundation made two films based on the books, in 1957 and 1964, and an animated series set in the present aired in 2008.)
The 21-book series, published between 1942 and 1963, follows an adventurous tomboy, Georgina—who prefers “George”—her dog, Timmy, and her three cousins as they swill ginger beer, search for lost treasure, and chase criminals while on holiday in the British countryside. (The “Famous Five” stories have much more in common with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys than they do Harry Potter, where Croker cut his teeth as an assistant to “Goblet of Fire” director Mike Newell.)
Working Title’s plans stand out in the crowded YA marketplace, which has taken a turn toward futuristic, dystopian worlds in recent years, with “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises now running out of steam. A bit of fresh air might do the genre good.