Only in a world where Legos can be the subject of a hit movie and Transformers toys the centerpiece of a hit franchise, can we imagine a movie based on sugary marshmallow candies. But for better or worse, that is the film culture we live in now and writer/director Adam Rifkin is prepared to take advantage of it, announcing Tuesday night that he has optioned the rights to Just Born’s Peeps, that colorful sugary goodness that annually generates $2 billion in revenue, primarily around Easter time. (Psst: We’ve got a few plot ideas for him.)
Rifkin, whose varied career includes script duty on family-friendly films like Small Soldiers and Mouse Hunt and more recently as the writer/director on the Showtime series Reality Show, intends to center his film, which has yet to nab a distributor, in the already-existing world of the Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest. (Turns out there is a whole world of Peeps aficionados who turn marshmallows into historical figures for cash prizes. This year, the newspaper’s winner depicted Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech all in Peeps. Check out the contest winners here.)
“I’ve seen people recreate Scarface with Peeps, Roman Gladiators with Peeps, The Wild West with peeps. Anything you can think of someone has done it with Peeps,” says Rifkin, who is set to begin writing the script which he envisions as primarily animated, with some live-action bookends of the diorama contest.
Rifkin admits that this deal never would have been possible without the giant success of The Lego Movie back in February.
“The Lego Movie proved it’s all in the execution,” says Rifkin. “A lot of people for a very long time, right up until opening weekend, thought this is the death of cinema. How could a movie about Legos be any good? But holy cow, it was great. And it was a massive hit.”
“We feel that way about this. Yes, they are candies. They were invented to be eaten at Easter time, but guess what, these dioramas have proven that these little candied characters have captured people’s imaginations,” he adds. “We were inspired by that as well. We want to make the best coolest, wildest, most fun, funny movie that we possibly can. And we believe it’s going to be great, and irreverent and contemporary, cool and silly. And because it’s going to be good, people are going to be delighted.”
We better be — or he is going to anger a lot of Peeps.