Better start playing nice with our feathered friends now — the BBC announced that it has given the greenlight for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds for television. The miniseries is set to be produced by David Heyman's (the Harry Potter franchise) Heyday Television, based on a script from Irish playwright and writer Conor McPherson (The Eclipse, The Actors), who previously adapted the Daphne du Maurier novella for the theater in 2009.
What's interesting is that while the announcement goes in the direction that the project will be a remake/reboot of the 1963 Hitchcock film; in fact, this version of The Birds will stick closer to du Maurier's original novella of the same name. With that comes the understanding that BBC's take will have a few noticeable differences: gone are the 1963 time period, the California setting, and any sign of Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren).
Leaning more towards du Maurier's vision, the BBC miniseries will be set in the United Kingdom's rural Cornwall shortly after the end of World War II, where a farmhand and his community find themselves having to face-down angry flocks of birds and seagulls and find a way to survive.
First published in her story collection The Apple Tree (1952), du Maurier's The Birds was inspired when the author saw a plowman working in a field while seagulls were flying and diving all around him and began to imagine what would happen if the seagulls suddenly began to attack. With the action set in Cornwall, many literary scholars have viewed the story as a direct metaphor for the "blitz" attacks on London during World War II.
Here's a brief excerpt from du Maurier's novella:
"The birds kept coming at him from the air, silent save for the beating wings. The terrible, fluttering wings. He could feel the blood on his hands, his wrists, his neck. Each stab of a swooping beak tore his flesh. If only he could keep them from his eyes. Nothing else mattered."