About a year ago, we reported that Dan Harmon was working on bringing Isaac Adamson’s Black List script Bubbles to the big screen. The bizarre, stop-motion animated project looks at Michael Jackson’s life through the eyes of his pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. Bubbles was adopted from an Austin, Texas research facility and given residence at the Neverland Ranch in 1983. He stayed with Jackson and was a constant companion until he became overly aggressive and was sent to a monkey sanctuary in Florida.
It’s a strange, unique story that will require a thoughtful director to tackle the material, but it looks like Harmon’s Starburns Industries has found the right man for the job. According to Screen Daily, Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taiki Waititi has signed on to direct alongside Fantastic Mr. Fox animation director Mark Gustafson.
“It’s an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further,” Waititi, who made Michael Jackson a central figure in his 2010 award-winning film Boy, said.
“Most people know I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it’s respectful of him and his legacy. I’m not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world.
“This film is not about Michael Jackson because that’s not a story for me to tell – or a story I’d be comfortable telling – it’s about a chimpanzee’s fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life.
“I think animation is the only way to approach a story like this. I really loved Anomalisa because it was beautiful and authentic in its meditation on loneliness. I’m really excited to be working with Dan Harmon and Starburns as we share similar sensibilities and want to tell human stories in unique and artistic ways.”
It will be interesting to see how Waititi approaches the material, which is sure to be controversial no matter what despite being an animated movie where the main point of view is from a chimpanzee.
The film is currently being soft-launched to buyers at Berlin ahead of a major push at Cannes. While Bubbles sounds exciting, it’s probably a ways off. Waititi is currently hard at work on Thor: Ragnarok, and once he’s done with that, stop-motion animation still takes a long time. Don’t expect to see Bubbles until late 2019 at the earliest.