‘Tell Me a Story’? The CW is ready to do just that

The CW picks up CBS All Access show modernizing fairy tales

Danielle Campbell stars in “Tell Me a Story,” debuting Tuesday on The CW.

Some stories are worth telling anew.

The CW evidently believes so, since it’s bringing a series from a sister outlet to broadcast television. “Tell Me a Story” streamed on CBS All Access, and the show begins again as it makes its CW debut Tuesday, July 28. Executive-produced by Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries”), it puts contemporary, sometimes creepy twists on classic fairy tales — for starters, “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Three Little Pigs.”

Danielle Campbell, of the “Vampire Diaries” spinoff “The Originals,” plays Red Riding Hood surrogate Kayla. Relocating to New York with her father (Sam Jaeger, “Parenthood”) after her mother’s death, she has an unusual high-school teacher (Billy Magnussen, “Game Night”) who’s the counterpart of the wolf in the correlating story.

Adapting “Tell Me a Story” from the Spanish series “Cuentame un Cuento,” Williamson explains that he and his creative team “chose these three fairy tales because they sort of complemented each other with their themes and the morals of the stories. They told three diverse story lines, and (we’ve) sort of interwoven them in a way in which the original series did not. The ‘Three Little Pigs’ story line might be reminiscent of the original (show), but ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel’ are just products of me and a roomful of writers.”

Billy Magnussen stars in “Tell Me a Story,” debuting Tuesday on The CW.

As for how “Tell Me a Story” changes things up, co-star Campbell reflects that the original “Little Red Riding Hood” was “this very sweet girl. I think that in our adaptation, she’s going through loss, and she’s just trying to distract herself and party and drink and go out. She’s kind of this really troubled kid, and you get to watch that.”

Kim Cattrall, James Wolk (“Zoo”), Daria Ramirez (“Heroes”), Dorian Missick and — reuniting with Williamson after their “Vampire Diaries” days — Paul Wesley also are in “Tell Me a Story’s” first season. Wesley and Campbell returned in different roles for the show’s second and final round, which adapted “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” in its own way (and added Odette Annable and Carrie-Anne Moss, among others, as co-stars).

“Tell Me a Story” likely will undergo some editing despite The CW’s trademark edginess, since content standards differ in the streaming world. Also featured in the forthcoming James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” Magnussen says he knew the initial boundaries of his role.

“Every project is individual,” he reasons, “and how you address it is individual to that process. And how it lives inside you as a performer, creator, whatnot, it’s going to manifest itself uniquely. You have to know the playground you are playing in, and then you create your world there.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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Samantha Leblond
Samantha Leblond
Jul 29, 2020 6:34 pm

So excited for tell me a story. Especially with Danielle Campelle & Paul Wesley I’m very familiar with these actors every part they play they are amazing.

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