Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight may not have scooped up any gold at the Oscars, but he just landed a hell of a follow-up job. Per Deadline, Paramount has recruited Knight to helm their Transformers franchise spin-off Bumblebee, based on the vocally-challenged, musically-inclined fan-favorite characters. Kubo was Knight’s directorial debut and Bumblebee will mark his first foray into live-action.
Bumblebee will be the studio’s first spin-off from their hugely successful transformers franchise, which has grossed more than $3 billion at the worldwide box office. Little is known about the studio’s approach to the spin-off at this point, except that it is intended to be a “lower cost” installment in the Transformers franchise, and apparently there was an R-rated “very Quentin” pitch on the table at some point. The current draft of the screenplay, however, emerged from Paramount’s Transformers writers room, and was penned by Christina Hodson. The three-time Black List scribe was also recently tapped to pen Warner Bros. DC film, Birds of Prey. Lorenzo Di Bonaventure, Michael Bay, and Steven Spielberg are producing.
For Knight, the gig is a major career move. Knight is also the president and CEO of Laika and his feature debut, the stop-motion animated Kubo and the Two Strings, received two Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Picture and Best Achievement in Visual Effects, the latter being an incredibly rare feat for an animated film (only The Nightmare Before Christmas had received the nomination before Kubo). Kubo was a gorgeous movie and Knight directed it beautifully, but it’s a major leap to a blockbuster live-action film and he’ll be the first director to tackle a live-action Transformers movie after Michael Bay (who is supposedly stepping down after The Last Knight, but we’ve all heard that refrain before). However, if you’re going to make a movie about a CGI character who can’t talk, a guy filmmaker with extensive animation experience is a pretty smart choice.
Bumblebee is slated to open opposite Godzilla 2 on June 8, 2018.