- Lindsey Anderson Beer aims to differentiate her Sleepy Hollow reboot from Tim Burton’s acclaimed movie by staying true to the original source material and exploring unanswered questions.
- While Beer admits her love for Burton’s movie, she is avoiding rewatching it to create her own unique adaptation, focusing instead on researching the real lore and history of the Hudson Valley.
- The Sleepy Hollow reboot has the potential to bring back the air of mystery and go beyond the supernatural elements, delving into the true nature of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane’s fate.
While it remains the more iconic of adaptations, writer/director Lindsey Anderson Beer reveals her goals to differentiate her Sleepy Hollow reboot from Tim Burton’s Oscar-winning movie. Loosely based on Washington Irving’s iconic short story, Burton’s 1999 project starred Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane as he ventured to the eponymous New York village in order to investigate a series of murders carried out by the mysterious Headless Horseman. The third major adaptation of Irving’s story after the 1922 silent movie The Headless Horseman and animated Disney title The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Burton’s went on to earn largely positive reviews and was a box office smash.
While speaking with TheWrap to discuss her feature directorial debut on Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, Beer offered some insight for her in-development Sleepy Hollow reboot. When asked about whether she was rewatching Burton’s Oscar-winning adaptation in preparation, the writer/director explained she is actually avoiding doing so, wanting to forge her own path, even while expressing her love for the 1999 movie. See what Beer explained below:
Whenever I’m adapting something, if it’s been adapted before on film, I don’t rewatch the movies. You just can’t. I didn’t while making Pet Sematary, I just kept re-reading the books. And it’s the same thing for Sleepy Hollow. I loved the Tim Burton film so much as a kid. I just rewatched it and rewatched it. And the pillars of that story — the romance, the spookiness, the airiness — that lives in my heart. I don’t need to rewatch the film to know that. Certainly, I have been diving into real lore from the Hudson Valley, the origins of the headless horsemen and just doing a lot of research. And also just doing a lot of visual research about, about the era and the area. I went and visited over the summer, actually. You start with the real thing, and then you go where your mind takes you.
How The Sleepy Hollow Reboot Can Separate Itself From Burton’s Classic
Though Irving’s story has been adapted various times in the years since, including the fan-favorite Fox show, few incarnations have fully stayed true to the source material. Burton’s beloved movie deviated from the story in a number of ways, with Crane being changed from a mild-mannered schoolteacher who moves to the town for a job to an eccentric detective investigating a series of murders. It also took a more direct route in portraying the Headless Horseman, turning him into an actual vengeful spirit being controlled by a witch out for revenge for what happened to her family.
Where Burton’s movie was originally envisioned as a low-budget slasher before he was brought on board, Beer’s Sleepy Hollow reboot can take a more unique path to adapting Irving’s work by going back to the air of mystery lingering over the story. The plot ultimately concluded with a heavy implication that the Horseman was nothing more than a local hero who was jealous of the young Katrina Van Tassel showing more favor to Ichabod and decided to play a trick on him in order to scare him away from the town for good, a sequence which still found its way into Burton’s movie.
Even if Beer’s movie stays true to Irving’s story, the Sleepy Hollow reboot doesn’t have to entirely avoid taking a supernatural route to explore the Headless Horseman. The writer/director recently teased her desire to take a similar approach as the recently released Pet Sematary: Bloodlines and explore some of the unanswered questions from the source material, which could very well be whether the legends of the Hessian spirit were actually true, as well as the real nature of Ichabod’s ambiguous fate. However she goes about it, Beer’s desire to do something different from Burton’s classic movie is sure to make it another welcome take on Irving’s story.