Jennifer Garner to Be Miss Marple in Disney Reboot

Jennifer Garner as Miss Marple

Update 03/30/2011:
The plot thickens. Deadline now reports that despite Disney’s confirmation of the deal, Agatha Christie’s estate claims it has not in fact closed.

I blame Sherlock Holmes and Robert Downey Jr. for this. Deadline reports that Disney has bought the rights to one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved amateur sleuths: the elderly and sharp-witted but increasingly frail-bodied Miss Jane Marple.

The film will be a contemporary take on the sweet but surprisingly dark-minded gardening sleuth, who has been played by a range of older actresses like Margaret Rutherford, Joan Hickson, Angela Lansbury, and Helen Hayes. In a bit of a twist, Disney has decided to go younger. Much younger, in fact. Jennifer Garner, with her Vandalia Films producing partner Juliana Janes, has signed on to both produce the film and star in it as Miss Marple.

Mark Frost (Fantastic Four, Twin Peaks) is writing the script, but no director has been set. I’m a huge Agatha Christie and Miss Marple fan, and I would actually love to see the character brought back into films or television, but couldn’t Jennifer Garner be a niece to whom Miss Marple (maybe Dame Maggie Smith or Dame Judi Dench) passes the torch? Otherwise, this feels so wrong on so many levels.

Does anyone else think this is an epically bad idea? I do like the idea of a Twin Peaks influenced St. Mary Mead, but it should take more than a name to make a character.

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  • Anonymous

    Ugh, I really hate it when Hollywood messes with classics like this. I really do like Jennifer Garner…I’m just hoping they don’t make Miss Marple too much like Sydney Bristow, you know? That would be all kinds of wrong.

    • Michelle StJames

      I like Jennifer Garner, too and I loved Sidney Bristow, but I just can’t picture this without both shuddering and laughing.

  • Waigook

    How the hell can one do this to a classic character from agatha christie’s pen? Its miss marple! and now they want to turn her into a crime solving electra. its disgusting. i wonder if the people from disney ever bothered to read the actual novels… there is a reason why agatha christie’s stuff is still popular! even with sherlock holmes they kept to the nature of the books! and it worked! so why this… and why an actress who looks uncomfortable when she acts as if she is wearing a mask that just never fits?

    • Michelle StJames

      The biggest problem really is that the whole point of Miss Marple is that people around her can’t see past the fluffy wool knitting and assume she is just a sweet old lady when really she is the sharpest, darkest-minded detective around.

      I own every Agatha Christie novel–I started collecting them when I was very young–so this really does hit me right where it hurts.

  • Michele

    Ok at my age of 45, I agree. I like all the classics, I was raised on them. However, as a school teacher and as a parent of two teenagers, well it is a great idea “sometimes”. This isn’t my generation anymore and for teens and young adults, well most of them believe print is dead. You give them an assignment to read a novel and explain it only to find that they have looked it up on the internet. They do more complaining about having to read a book. To blame this on Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law – ridiculous. Actually, the movie was closer to the ages and how Conan-Doyle described both characters within his books. The older classic movies had changed too many things and had taken too many liberties, Basil Rathbone changed alot of things himself and Watson was not an old fool. Rathbone is only the most remembered Holmes but not the one that actually followed the novels and short stories directly. Many teens and young adults actually went back and began to read Conan-Doyle’s novels again, because of ‘that’ movie. I was able to teach it in classes and receive the most impressive responses. He has been brought alive again for a whole new generation due to that one film.
    You should have chosen Alice In Wonderland – by Johnny Depp and Burton (again Disney) as an example of changing a classic. Alice never fought and killed the Jabberwocky – that was a virtuous young man. They needed an explanation of why The Mad Hatter was mad and why his hair was actually red.( Never explained.) I am sure most believed he had been born an oddity. There were also a ‘great’ number of other changes involved in Disney’s very strange view of the story – yet it made over $ 1 billion dollars. I am sure also – to be changed – is Disney’s film version of The Classic – Oz: The Great and Powerful. I have also read all of the classics from the OZ series also. The way they are describing the making of the classics involved is ridiculous. How about, let us go way back, the re-writing of The Grimm Brother’s works by Disney. Snow White ( she was actually 7 yrs. old and declared most beautiful by the mirror, the witch tried to kill her 3 times, and she wasn’t awaken by a kiss from the prince – they dropped the coffin and the apple dislodged from her throat ), Cinderella ( is actually very gruesome, her real name was Ella, to get their feet smaller the step sisters actually cut pieces from their feet to try and make the glass slippers fit, for lying birds pecked their eyes out.- but not in Disney’s version ). The same with Disney’s/Bueta Vista remake of Repunzel ( everyone lived in extremely terrible circustances after the Enchantress found the two out. She also had the prince blinded by Thorn bushes and he lived in squalor in the forest – Repunzel in the meantime had given birth to their set of twins. “Yes Repunzel had been pregnant in the original story” , her tears brought his sight back ) .All were changed. The list goes on and on. You cannot blame a movie – which revived Conan-Doyle’s writings world wide, on what Disney and others are doing. These were Disney’s views back in the 30’s. Make a funny, happy more entertaining story than the actual classics or folk writings and the people will come. They have continually changed classics. This is all just a continuation of drawing children and their parents in. Disney has done this for over 70 years. That is Disney – expect nothing more or less. A movie made in 2009 did not change this fact.

    • Michelle StJames

      My comment about Sherlock Holmes and Robert Downey Jr. was meant as a joke. A bad one perhaps, but it was written in fun from someone who enjoyed the film and chose it merely because it was from the mystery genre. While I wasn’t trying to make a social statement, I certainly see where you got that and all of your points about Disney are absolutely true, but in all honesty, I don’t blame anyone because this is the business of entertainment. Anything goes if there is a market for it.