The trailer has been released for the latest adaptation of the classic children’s novel The Secret Garden. The beloved tale of an orphan girl Mary Lennox and her invalid cousin Colin, set free from their stifled existence by the discovery of a magical walled garden in the grounds of their house, was published in 1911 and has had numerous adaptations for stage and screen. The most famous was the 1993 film version starring Maggie Smith as the uptight house keeper of the manor, Mrs. Medlock, where Mary arrives following the death of her parents in India.
Starring Dixie Egerickx as Mary, the 2020 adaptation differs from the novel by being set in 1947 rather than at the beginning of the 20th century. Mary’s uncle, the repressed and reclusive Archibald Craven, is played by screen legend Colin Firth. Edan Hayhurst plays his son Colin Craven, the cousin Mary never knew she had. The discovery of the garden acts as a liberating force in both their lives, with Mary convincing Colin that he no longer needs the wheelchair, much to the horror of the over-protective adults around him. As Colin learns to embrace the beauty of the garden, as well as life on the outside, his father learns to face the grief he has been running from since the death of his wife years previously.
The script has been penned by Jack Thorne, notable for writing the TV series His Dark Materials and for co-writing the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Other cast members include Amir Wilson as Dickon (who also appeared in His Dark Materials) and British national treasure Julie Walters as Mrs. Medlock.
The recently-released snippet contains echoes of Thorne’s previous work. While the original story traces Mary’s journey from being stubborn and angry after her arrival from India to becoming good-natured and kind, the trailer shows her to be more in the vein of Lyra Belacqua, as feisty rather than mean-spirited, and headstrong enough to fight the adults around her for her cousin’s right to flourish. However, it remains to be seen whether it will delight devotees of the book.
The Secret Garden is due to be released later this year at an unspecified date.
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