Filmmaker works 40 years to make "Nutcracker 3D"

Fri Dec 3, 2010 9:09pm EST
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By Cristy Lytal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Every adult has a child-like soul," says 73 year-old Andrei Konchalovsky.

And as the co-writer/director of "The Nutcracker in 3D," Konchalovsky called upon his inner child to muster the enthusiasm and optimism to get the long-delayed project to the big screen -- after 40 years of trying.

The Russian theater and film director has modernized the classic tale, which enters wide release in the United States on Friday, by bringing it out in 3D. He also changed the setting and some of the characters.

Elle Fanning stars as nine-year-old Mary, who receives an enchanted nutcracker as a gift from her eccentric Uncle Albert, played by Nathan Lane. On Christmas night, the Nutcracker (Charlie Rowe) comes to life and leads her to a kingdom of living toys threatened by an evil Rat King (John Turturro).

Konchalovsky wrote the first version of the script for director Anthony Asquith in the late 1960s, but when Asquith died "the script went to oblivion," Konchalovsky told Reuters.

More than 25 years later, in 1995, Konchalovsky decided the time had come to make a film for his children and grandchildren, and he remembered the shelved script.

Instead of attempting to film a ballet because "film kills ballet," Konchalovsky turned to German author E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story and Russian composer Pyotr Tchiakovsky's music.

He shifted the setting from the early 18th century to 1920s Vienna, allowing him to draw inspiration from sources as varied as Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud, the Futurism movement and Albert Einstein -- the model for Layne's Uncle Albert.   Continued...