Reese Witherspoon to Star as a Live-Action Tinker Bell in Tink

By  · Published on May 22nd, 2015

Walt Disney

With all the live-action remakes of Disney animated classics, it’s slipped our mind that the studio had also been developing a Tinker Bell-focused Peter Pan spin-off called Tink a while back. That movie was to star Elizabeth Banks, who seemed excited and was going around comparing it to Elf. Well, a lot has changed in five years. Banks is busy makin’ bank at the box office with her directorial debut, Pitch Perfect 2, and Tink is back in play with an even bigger star: Reese Witherspoon.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog has the Oscar-winning actress, whose own new movie (Hot Pursuit) isn’t quite as hot at the box office right now, taking over the role of Peter Pan’s fiery fairy friend and also producing. Victoria Strouse is taking over screenplay duties from previous writers Marti Noxon and Elizabeth Shapiro. Presently, the only feature released with a script by Strouse is the forgettable 2002 drama New Best Friend, but she also wrote the upcoming Pixar sequel Finding Dory.

Presumably the angle and story will be completely different from the exile plot of the Banks-led version. According to Heat Vision, Disney is obviously selling this one as similar to Maleficent and “the story you don’t know.” But I can’t imagine it’ll be a retelling of the whole Peter Pan narrative from her perspective. She needs more than that. I also don’t see it being a prequel or origin story after Warner Bros.’ upcoming Tink-less movie Pan (which I think is going to flop). They need their own thing.

Tinker Bell has already had a number of her own movies, all animated and direct to video releases and all starring Mae Whitman as the voice of Tink (she’s also done the voice for Tink in TV cartoons and video games). Apparently this is another instance of one of her characters being stolen away from her. Sort of. In the past, Tink has also been portrayed in live-action form by Julia Roberts, Keira Knightley, Ludivine Sagnier and Rose McIver, who has the role on TV’s Once Upon a Time.

Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy is also set to star as the character for an untitled Shawn Levy comedy for Fox. This is now my new favorite competing-projects duel.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.