Academy Award-winning ‘Jojo Rabbit’ director will write, direct and executive product two original animated series based on the world and characters of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book.
Taika Waititi, fresh off his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win for Jojo Rabbit, is taking on not one, but two animated series projects with Netflix. The streaming giant has just announced Waititi will write, direct, and executive produce two original animated series: the first, based on the world and characters of Roald Dahl’s classic book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;” the second, an original event series starring the Oompa-Loompas. Both shows will retain the spirit and tone of Dahl’s original story while expanding the world and characters for the very first time.
The deal marks the beginning of an extensive partnership between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company, which will see reimagined versions of the author’s stories, including “Matilda,” “The BFG,” “The Twits,” and others.
According to Netflix Vice President of Original Animation, Melissa Cobb, “I grew up reading Dahl stories and lived large parts of my young life in those magical worlds, so finding just the right creative partner to bring Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Oompa-Loompas to life in animation was a daunting task...until Taika walked into the room. Then, it was really obvious. If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I'm pretty sure he would have created Taika.”
“In the words of Willy Wonka himself – we are ‘Delighted! Charmed! Overjoyed!’ with Taika’s appointment on this project,” added Gideon Simeloff, Commercial and Entertainment Director, Roald Dahl Story Company. “There is something undeniably Wonka-esque about Taika’s creative flair and inimitable sense of humor and we cannot think of anyone more perfectly suited to leading the creative charge on these first of their kind, feature quality Netflix shows.”
Waititi is best known for directing the critically acclaimed blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel, as well as the WWII satirical dark comedy, Jojo Rabbit for Fox Searchlight, which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Previously, Waititi wrote and directed the popular indie films Hunt for The Wilderpeople, What We Do in The Shadows, Boy, and the Oscar-nominated short film, Two Cars, One Night. He is currently in post-production on the feature film Next Goal Wins, which he wrote, directed, and produced. He is also set to write and direct Thor: Love and Thunder. He recently directed the Season One finale of The Mandalorian on Disney+, and served as executive producer, co-writer, and director of last year’s TV adaptation of What We Do in The Shadows on FX, which was picked up for a second season.
The two new Netflix – Dahl animated project deals add to the streamer’s extensive and growing slate of family-oriented animated features and series, including Sergio Pablos’s Academy Award-nominated Klaus, The Willoughbys from Kris Pearn and Over the Moon from Glen Keane (coming in 2020).
More than 300 million Dahl books have been sold worldwide; “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” remains the author’s best-selling title.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.