A New 'Secret Garden' Movie Is Happening & It'll Take '90s Kids Right Back To Their Childhoods
Frances Hodgson Burnett's beloved classic is heading to the big screen once more, and this time there will be a familiar face in the garden. As reported by Variety, a new adaptation of The Secret Garden is currently in production. The film is set to star Bridget Jones's Diary favorite Colin Firth as the often absent Uncle Archibald, while Julie Walters is stepping into the role of the unyielding housekeeper Mrs. Medlock. The Secret Garden was originally published in 1911, but for many kids who grew up in the '90s, their first exposure to the magical world of the indomitable Mary Lennox came in the form of the 1993 film starring Maggie Smith.
And that's not a bad thing, because the movie is a classic too. While the 1993 version is far from the only adaptation, it's one of the best — in 2005, the British Film Institute named it one of the films every kid should see before they turn 14. That's quite an endorsement, but one of the best reasons to watch The Secret Garden is because Mary is such a beautifully flawed hero.
The character comes to her uncle's home after the death of her parents, but it's not so much their loss that defines her young life as it is their inattentiveness. While Mary is spoiled by the people who work for her parents, she craves attention, and she doesn't find it with her uncle, who's still grieving his wife a decade after a sudden death. Instead, she builds her own makeshift family inside of a garden that brings hope to a number of characters who desperately need it.
Kate Maberly played Mary with an edge of defiance that resonated with a generation of young women who were growing up in the age of girl power. Her performance still rings true to this day, which makes it all the more exciting to know that a new young actor will be bringing her own unique spirit to the role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, rising star Dixie Egerickx will be playing the iconic character in the new film.
Seeing Mary return to the big screen is exciting all on its own, but the best reason to get psyched for this film is the inclusion of Firth. Few actors are quite as adept at taking on literary roles and making them their own as Firth is. After all, this is the man who made a wet shirt scene seem scandalous when he played Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice. He's also the person who made a modern Darcy cool all over again in the Bridget Jones franchise. Basically, Firth can do anything, and that probably includes making you swoon over a grieving uncle who finds magic inside of a secret garden.
Happily, this British film will be shown stateside. It was announced on Saturday, May 12 that The Secret Garden has found an American distributor. According to THR, Global Road Chairman and CEO Rob Friedman said at Cannes,
"The Secret Garden is one of the world's most beloved stories of all time celebrating friendship, nature and the limitless power of childhood imagination."
If you're still entranced by the magic of the garden now that you're an adult, then you know exactly what he's talking about. The Secret Garden is one of the stories that sticks with you, whether you read the book or watched the film until the VHS tape broke (or both). Now there's a new adaptation — with an added bonus of Firth — coming to a theater near you in the not-so-distant future. Seriously, there's no better time to be a '90s kid than right now.