American film and television screenwriter and actor Jason Fuchs, who makes his live-action feature screenwriting debut with his original screenplay for Pan, was taken by the character at an early age—an enthrallment that never left him. “When I was nine years old, I was on a Peter Pan ride with my dad and we got stuck in a flying pirate ship over a miniature London,” he recalls. “It was literally the best 25 minutes of my life, up there with LED stars twinkling above us and Peter and Wendy flying five feet away.”
Those moments engendered the youngster with questions he would spend years hoping to answer. “At the time, I kept asking my dad, ‘How did Peter get to Neverland?’ ‘Why can he fly?’ ‘How did he and Hook meet for the first time and why do they hate each other so much?’ I read the original book in search of answers, but found only hints, and I always thought it would be great to make a movie that told the full story, that answered at least some of the questions I had that day.”
Fuchs, who graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a B.A. in Film, made his feature screenwriting debut in 2012 with the animated Ice Age: Continental Drift. The film grossed $881 million worldwide, becoming one of the most successful animated films of all time.
As a result, at age 26, Fuchs became the youngest screenwriter in film history to pen a film that grossed over $226 million, the worldwide box office mark set in 1997 by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck with their screenplay for Good Will Hunting.
A two-time Young Artist Award-nominated actor, Fuchs has been featured on stage as well as screen for over two decades. Most notably, Fuchs starred opposite Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha in the indie film hit Holy Rollers, an official competition selection of the Sundance Film Festival, and he received rave reviews in the Roundabout Theater Company’s world premiere play Speech & Debate, helmed by Tony-nominated director Jason Moore (“Avenue Q”), which played to a sold out, twice-extended off-Broadway run.
Currently, Fuchs is developing several feature film projects, including the sci-fi adventure The Magic Catalogue, for Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers, and the supernatural thriller Break My Heart 1,000 Times, starring Hailee Steinfeld, which he will write and executive produce.
On the television side, Fuchs is currently scripting a conspiracy thriller drama entitled Black Box, which revolves around the allegedly accidental crash of a civilian airliner, for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and the U.S. basic cable network TNT; Fuchs will also executive produce in addition to creating.
Producer Greg jumped on board to produce Pan after meeting with Fuchs and hearing his ideas for the character.
“This was Jason’s passion project, to reintroduce Peter Pan and his mythology to the world. Every generation deserves its own Peter Pan story; it was exciting to me to re-examine what we think we know about Peter and Hook and Tiger Lily, and to twist and turn those notions around. I think Jason and Joe executed it all brilliantly.”
“I’d never read a script like Jason’s, and I’ve read a lot of scripts,” director Joe Wright says. “But this one had a heart to it that I hadn’t really found in others for movies of this scale. And I have a son, so I really wanted to make this movie for him.”
Drawing on a line in the book about Hook training under Blackbeard, Fuchs expanded the role of the infamous pirate, making him Peter’s prime nemesis in the script and Hook a younger, two-handed adventurer looking for a way out of Neverland who realizes Peter might just be the ticket.
The story Fuchs devised is the untold tale of how a young orphan named Peter would become the hero known forevermore as Peter Pan.
A young woman, Mary—played by Amanda Seyfried—deposits her infant son on the steps of an orphanage called the Lambeth Home for Boys, leaving him with a note, a kiss, and a pan flute charm on a string about his neck. The story picks up with Peter, now aged 12, still dreaming of his mother’s return.
Shades of the rascally Pan readers all know are evident in the rebellious young lad who, along with his best friend, Nibs, revels in outsmarting the officious orphanage director, Mother Barnabas. But what the boys soon learn is that her greed doesn’t stop with the Home’s war rations. With her blessing and in the midst of the Blitz, Peter, along with several other boys, is plucked from his bed by a band of pirates and whisked away to an extraordinary place… Neverland.
However, it’s not the Neverland we’ve all come to know. Under Blackbeard’s rule, Peter and his fellow orphans—along with thousands more—are thrown into a massive dirt pit and forced to dig ceaselessly for the rarest of gems: pixum, from which pixie dust is extracted. But when Peter comes face to face with Blackbeard, he proves himself to have an extraordinary gift, and it becomes clear that the malevolent ruler may have even more to fear from Peter, and that his fate, and the very fate of Neverland, may rest in this young boy’s hands.