Glee star turns to chil­dren’s lit

Colfer now writ­ing screen adap­ta­tion of Land of Sto­ries

The Barrie Examiner - - ENTERTAINMENT - LAU­REN LA ROSE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

TORONTO — As Chris Colfer turns the page on his hit chil­dren’s book fan­tasy se­ries, the for­mer Glee star turned au­thor is em­bark­ing on a new chap­ter and bring­ing his lit­er­ary work to film.

Worlds Col­lide is the sixth and fi­nal book in the se­ries The Land of Sto­ries, which fea­tures clas­sic fairy-tale char­ac­ters con­verg­ing in new ad­ven­tures. Colfer is em­bark­ing on a 20-city book tour that will in­clude a stop in Van­cou­ver on July 29.

The new­est in­stal­ment ar­rives just as Colfer set­tles in to work on the screen­play adap­ta­tion of The Wish­ing Spell, the first book in his se­ries, which will also serve as his di­rec­to­rial de­but. Mon­treal-born Shawn Levy (Ar­rival, Stranger Things) and his com­pany 21 Laps are on board as pro­duc­ers.

“On one hand, it is in­cred­i­ble, be­cause I get to tell the story again,” Colfer said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view in Toronto.

“When I look back at the first book, peo­ple re­ally love it. But be­cause I wrote it, I see all the mis­takes that I made. I see ways I could have been a bet­ter writer.

“It’s won­der­ful that I get a chance to kind of make it bet­ter, in a way,” he said. “But it’s also ter­ri­fy­ing, be­cause you have a lot of stu­dio ex­ec­u­tives to please. And af­ter that, you’re go­ing to have a wave of crit­ics to please and then hope­fully — most im­por­tantly — the read­ers.”

While Colfer made his mark belt­ing out tunes as Kurt Hum­mel on Glee, his pas­sion for writ­ing pre­dated his star-mak­ing turn on the smash mu­si­cal com­edy-drama, which ended in 2015.

“The Land of Sto­ries be­gan when I was a lit­tle kid. It was a story I used to write just to en­ter­tain my­self,” said Colfer, 27.

“I fell in love with it, and I was ob­sessed with the char­ac­ters and the world, and I promised my­self one day if I had the op­por­tu­nity to pub­lish it, I would.”

When Colfer was 19, the ac­tor said of­fers to write his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy started to pour in. He asked a few pub­lish­ers if they’d be in­ter­ested in a chil­dren’s book in­stead.

One book turned into the six­in­stal­ment se­ries, which is also joined by com­pan­ion books like Queen Red Rid­ing Hood’s Guide To Roy­alty and The Mother Goose Diaries. Colfer has also ven­tured into teen ter­ri­tory with Struck By Light­ning, which he adapted for a 2013 film.

Read­ers are first in­tro­duced to twins Alex and Con­ner in the The Wish­ing Spell. Their grand­mother gives them a mag­i­cal book that leads them to en­ter The Land of Sto­ries, where fairy tales come to life — and the char­ac­ters and sto­ries take un­ex­pected turns.

Worlds Col­lide trans­ports the story to New York as the he­roes and vil­lains from the fairy-tale realm are no longer con­fined to their own do­main.

“They rep­re­sent the con­ver­sa­tions and ar­gu­ments that I get into with my­self con­stantly. I’m a Gemini so they rep­re­sent my ying and my yang,” said Colfer of the twins.

“Alex is kind of my in­tel­lec­tual, too smart for their own good type side, and Con­ner is the sar­cas­tic, smar­tass side of me . ... I think more kids are able to con­nect with the se­ries be­cause there are two pro­tag­o­nists,” he said.

“I think it’s re­ally good to have two sets of opin­ions con­stantly through­out a story — and es­pe­cially since it’s boys and girls. They re­late to such dif­fer­ent things, so to have both of those forces in there I think was re­ally a good idea.”

Colfer said he could fore­see a con­tin­u­a­tion of The Land of Sto­ries down the road, per­haps with a pre­quel based on the twins’ grand­mother’s life. While he is cur­rently oc­cu­pied with adapt­ing The Wish­ing Spell, he’s still keen to re­turn in front of the cam­eras.

“I think the older I get, the more I like to write a lit­tle more. But I still re­ally, re­ally love act­ing, and I still love be­com­ing other peo­ple and be­ing ridicu­lous and all of that,” Colfer said.

“I think (act­ing) might go on the back­burner — just a for a lit­tle bit. And then I’ll be back.”

DAN STEINBERG/INVISION

Ac­tor Chris Colfer, best known for his role in Glee, is bring­ing his lit­er­ary work to film.

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