Guillermo del Toro announced yesterday that Dan and Kevin Hageman — his writing team on his Netflix show — will join him for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The Hageman brothers are most well known for writing The Lego Movie, another project inspired by works for children. “The fit for this material was just perfect,” del Toro told The Hollywood Reporter. “They grew up with the books, they love the genre and they are smart and emotional when writing characters.”
What’s even more interesting is that the Hageman brothers understand comedy and large-scale universes, as evidenced by their work on The Lego Movie. It goes without saying that del Toro understands the form and function of monsters. Both the Hagemans and del Toro, though they work in different genres, have benefitted from telling stories from the view of imaginative children. In many ways, Ofelia of Pan’s Labyrinth is similar to Finn from The Lego Movie. Both children use archetypal understandings of good and evil in order to process the actions of the adults in their lives.
It’s exciting to see the Hagemans join the Scary Stories team, because the series of books by Alvin Schwartz was not your average trilogy of middle-grade fiction. They were often banned in schools, and acquiring them was often the first transgressive act many of us committed as kids — all in the name of experiencing a good story. The film will do well to acknowledge this culture of rebellion. With the Hagemans at the helm, it’s likely to do that.