After 60-odd years in the biz, whether in front of the camera or behind it, Oscar-winner Ron Howard is all set up to direct his first animated film. The news comes as new documentary Pavarotti, which he directed, is making its world tour. It’s also just one of four new films set up between Howard and Brian Grazer‘s Imagine Entertainment banner and the Australian company, Animal Logic (The LEGO Movie franchise, Happy Feet).
As Variety reports, Howard’s picture, ideally leading off the new projects, is an adaptation of bestselling children’s book author Florence Parry Heide and acclaimed illustrator Edward Gorey‘s 1971 story, The Shrinking of Treehorn. The story centers on the title character, a boy whose parents hardly take notice when he begins to shrink. Scripted by Rob Lieber (Peter Rabbit, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day), the aim is for the visual style to match that of Gorey’s illustrations. The picture will be distributed through Paramount.
Here’s what Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic’s entertainment CEO, had to say about the deal:
“I’ve long had this passionate point of view that Ron Howard should make a tentpole animated movie. That’s how this started … It was serendipitous that Imagine was sort of evolving and growing, and Animal Logic was more and more committed to the development and production of our own intellectual property. We have a shared vision of what that space can be.”
Here’s a look at the other three projects:
- Rainbow Serpent – An original animated story based on Australian aboriginal culture and their creation mythology, scripted by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra) and set up through Paramount Animation.
- Zero – Director Carlos Stevens and writers Jonathon Stewart and Eyal Podell (“The Angry Birds Movie 2”, “Cars 3”) lead this buddy comedy that “explores the connection between family and technology” in the vein of Inside Out, distributed by Warner Bros.
- Muttnik – A live-action hybrid that will explore a story about a space-time continuum-traveling dog who was launched into space by the Russians only to return home as an evolved creature; no distributor has been announced just yet.