Streamer announces production has begun on film based on two-time Newberry Award winner Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same name.
Netflix has just announced production is underway on a new animated feature film, The Magician’s Elephant, based on two-time Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same title. The film marks the directorial debut of visual effects veteran Wendy Rogers (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Puss in Boots); Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) is producing.
The voice cast includes Sian Clifford, Pixie Davies, Natasia Demetriou, Dawn French, Brian Tyree Henry, Noah Jupe, Aasif Mandvi, Mandy Patinkin, Miranda Richardson, Cree Summer, Lorraine Toussaint, and Benedict Wong.
In the film, when Peter (voiced by Jupe), who is searching for his long-lost sister named Adel (voiced by Pixie Davies), crosses paths with a fortune teller in the market square, there is only one question on his mind: is his sister still alive? The answer, that he must find a mysterious elephant and the magician (voiced by Wong) who will conjure it, sets Peter off on a harrowing journey to complete three seemingly impossible tasks that will change the face of his town forever.
According to Rogers, “Peter’s story planted itself in my heart when I first read the book - I felt very connected to him and was totally captivated by the world and the characters. The power of hope, the belief that anything is possible, and the ability to ask, ‘what if?’ are all themes that are woven into the fabric of this film and resonate now more than ever."
The Magician’s Elephant is written by Martin Hynes (Toy Story 4), with production design by Max Boas (Abominable); art direction by Iuri Lioi (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy); and editing by Robert Fisher Jr. (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). Gary H. Lee (Kung Fu Panda) is the previs lead; Mark Sperber (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) is the head of story; and Jennifer Teter (Sherlock Gnomes) is the line producer. The film’s animation is being produced by Animal Logic.
"When I first read Kate DiCamillo's book, I knew that I had to make ‘The Magician's Elephant’ into a film,” Pistor said. “It's as inspiring as it is entertaining, and has such a wonderful blend of adventure, heart, magic, and off-center humor. The film has such a unique visual style that transports the audience away to another world, one that Wendy and I wanted to ensure reflects the world as it really is - full of different cultures and beliefs.”
The Magician’s Elephant joins Netflix’s fast growing original slate of animated features which includes Academy Award nominated Klaus, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys, Oscar winner Glen Keane’s Over the Moon; upcoming releases include the Fall 2021 comedy Back to the Outback directed by Clare Knight and Harry Cripps, Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure, Chris Williams’ The Sea Beast, Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and an Aardman sequel to Chicken Run.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.