June 10, 2020 / 1:46 PM / 2 months ago

Disney's take on young adult novel 'Artemis Fowl' debuts Friday

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co on Friday will release a film adaptation of popular young adult book series “Artemis Fowl,” one that its stars and director admit differs from the story written by Irish author Eoin Colfer.

FILE PHOTO: Actor Kenneth Branagh attends a Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Peter Hall at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

A movie trailer released in March prompted criticism from some fans because it appeared the title character was a hero rather than the villain he was made out to be in the first “Artemis Fowl” book, which was published in 2001. Seven other books followed through 2012.

Actor Ferdia Shaw, who plays Fowl, said filmmakers changed the 12-year-old criminal mastermind “a little bit” for the movie version.

“But he’s still got his hard edge and his gritty sides,” plus a colorful fairy world and other elements from the book, Shaw said. “So I think it will be very well received.”

“Artemis Fowl” will debut on the Disney+ streaming service rather than movie theaters because many cinemas around the world remain closed to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In the movie, Fowl is searching for his missing father, played by Colin Farrell, when he discovers an underground fairy world called Haven City.

Director Kenneth Branagh said he wanted to make a movie that both book lovers and audiences new to “Artemis Fowl” could appreciate.

“You could not assume that anybody going into the cinema had necessarily read the books or knew the characters,” Branagh said, “so there would need to be a way of telling the first story in the cinema that acknowledged that.”

Author Colfer has given his blessing to the movie, according to a summary released by Disney.

“I thought all their changes were totally justified, and for the better,” Colfer said.

Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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