Having directed some of the biggest animated feature films of all time, Carlos Saldanha is now set to make his live-action feature directorial debut for Tri-Star with the studio’s adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth. Saldanha’s claims to fame include directing four of the five Ice Age films tallying nearly $3 billion worldwide, writing and directing both Rio films for a total of nearly $1 billion overall, and the recent Blue Sky/20th Century Fox flick, Ferdinand, which came up just shy of $300 million. Now, Saldanha will turn his talents to the live-action adaptation of Norton Juster‘s 1961 children’s classic, hopefully channeling some of the character designs of illustrator Jules Feiffer.
THR reported on Saldanha’s appointment to the helm of The Phantom Tollbooth, which will be produced by Donald De Line and Ed McDonnell. Matt Shakman (Game of Thrones, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) was previously attached to direct but had to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts. The current draft hails from Ted Melfi (Hidden Figures) with previous drafts from Michael Vukadinovich (Runaways) and Phil Johnston (Zootopia).
If you’re unfamiliar with The Phantom Tollbooth and haven’t picked up one of the four million copies sold since its original publication, here’s the official synopsis (via Amazon):
Hailed as “a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention” (The New Yorker), this beloved story–first published more than fifty ago–introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond.
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .
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