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WildBrain Inks ‘First Look Deal’ With Bonnie Arnold

Ex-DreamWorks Animation exec and ‘How to Train your Dragon’ franchise producer now developing ‘Dragon’ author Cressida Cowell’s latest book ‘Which Way to Anywhere;’ exec to spearhead numerous episodic projects, TV specials, and features for the family and kids’ entertainment company.

Family and kids’ entertainment company WildBrain has signed an overall “first look” deal with producer Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story), which will see the producer spearhead numerous episodic projects, TV specials, and features. Her initial projects include Cressida Cowell’s newest bestselling novel “Which Way to Anywhere” (Hachette Children’s Group) as well the author’s award-winning five-volume “Emily Brown” (Hachette Children’s Group) picture books illustrated by Neal Layton. WildBrain has exclusively optioned both properties.

Arnold, a previous Co-President of Features at DreamWorks Animation, produced all three How to Train Your Dragon movies for DreamWorks Animation, based on Cowell’s bestselling novels. The Dragons film franchise has grossed more than US $1.6 billion worldwide. She also served as producer on the Pixar animated feature Toy Story and Sony Pictures Classics’ The Last Station. Additional credits include DreamWorks Animation’s comedy, Over the Hedge; Disney’s animated, Tarzan; the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, Dances With Wolves; and the comedy, The Addams Family.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that we’ve reunited Bonnie Arnold with Cressida Cowell for two terrific new projects at WildBrain,” commented WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen. “Bonnie is a treasure in the world of animation, combining not only outstanding creative and storytelling vision but also a keen commercial sensibility. Given her stewardship of the Dragons franchise, there’s no one better to bring Cressida’s splendid new novel, ‘Which Way to Anywhere,’ to life on screen. Welcoming a producer of Bonnie’s exceptional taste and experience into the WildBrain fold will further elevate our creative slate both in scope and ambition.”

“I love the unconventional characters and exciting worlds that Cressida creates,” shared Arnold. “I’m thrilled to be working with her again on such a fresh and imaginative story. ‘Which Way to Anywhere’ has all the right ingredients—comedy, heart, and a little bit of magic too. WildBrain is an ideal partner for this and ‘Emily Brown.’ Eric and the wonderful team at WildBrain Studios have so much experience creating outstanding family programming. I look forward to working with them in bringing these and other captivating stories that I am passionate about to the screen.”

“I have worked with Bonnie Arnold for over a decade with the How to Train Your Dragon movies: she’s a powerhouse of creativity and commercial instinct,” added Cowell. “I’m delighted to be partnering with her and the ambition, imagination, and vision of WildBrain to bring ‘Which Way to Anywhere’ and ‘Emily Brown’ to screen.”

“Which Way to Anywhere” is an adventure that follows K2 O'Hero, a seemingly ordinary boy—after all, he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family's magical history a secret. However, not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mabel know that magic exists - they think K2 is the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift: he draws maps of worlds beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers, and dark, twisty jungles alive with plants that hunt by the smell of fear. What K2 doesn't know is that the maps he draws are real.

When their baby sister Annipeck is kidnapped, the warring stepsiblings will have to use K2's gift to find a crossing point into one of those worlds and embark on a daring rescue mission. But, with a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must learn to work together quickly—because their family's future is at stake.

The “Emily Brown” book series follows Emily and her toy rabbit, Stanley, as they embark on intrepid adventures to help others. Along the way, they demonstrate the unbreakable bond between child and favorite toy and that kindness, determination, and a sense of humor can overcome almost any obstacle.

The series consists of five books: “The Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown;” “Cheer Up Your Teddy Bear Emily Brown;” “Emily Brown and the Thing;” “Emily Brown and the Elephant Emergency;” and
Emily Brown and Father Christmas.”

Source: WildBrain

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.