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Disney Tinkers With Big Screen ‘Peter Pan’ Prequel

Chief Bob Iger on potential movie adaptation of “Peter and the Starcatchers”: “We haven’t made a decision on that yet”

Disney chief Bob Iger told shareholders at the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday in Salt Lake City that the studio is still mulling bringing “Peter and the Starcatchers,” a prequel to “Peter Pan,” to the big screen.

“Peter and the Starcatchers ,” a best-selling children's novel written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, was published by Disney’s Hyperion books in 2004.

“We considered making [it] a movie,” Iger said, noting they went as far as hiring a screenwriter to adapt the book. “We haven't made a decision on that yet.”

In the meantime, Iger said the company’s been testing the material onstage — first at the La Jolla Playhouse, and currently in an Off Broadway production at the New York Theater Workshop.

Iger boasted that Ben Brantley, the Times chief theater critic, recently gave it a glowing review.

He wasn't kidding:

All sinking sensations should feel this sensational. When the H.M.S. Neverland goes down in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the blissful exercise in make-believe that opened on Wednesday night at the New York Theater Workshop, it’s the most enthralling shipwreck since James Cameron sent the Titanic to her watery grave in the late 1990s (and picked up a crate of Oscars).

Mr. Cameron, of course, had digital magic, green screens, hundreds of extras and a $200 million budget at his disposal. The directors of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, have a small stage, a ladder, some rope, thunder and lightning effects that might have been in use a century ago, and a cast of exactly a dozen. Yet for my money, going down with the Neverland is a heck of a lot more fun — and ultimately more convincing — than any big-screen equivalent.

The show runs through April 3.

“Who knows what will happen after that,” Iger said, adding: “I'm hoping to see it on Saturday night in New York myself.”

[Photo via the New York Times]