A new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is to be developed by RG Entertainment, with director Ray Griggs (family superhero movie Super Capers, upcoming I Want Your Money). It will be brought to life from a screenplay by Bill Marsilii, writer of Deja Vu. Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, responsible for the amazing effects work in Lord of the Rings and King Kong, will handle the translation of the animals into live-action via animatronics.
Variety broke the news.
There have been a great many film versions of this tale in the past (my favourite being Dave Unwin’s 1995 animated one), but none seem to have seen huge releases or major successes; with a $30 million budget, this one might be a little different. Different in terms of story too, potentially – Variety has an interesting description of this adaptation’s take on the story:
In the Marsilii script, the animals join forces to save their land from a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the uneasy truce between the peaceful animals of the Willows and what remains of Mankind. Story begins when Mole ventures out of his lonely home for the first time and finds a world of new friendships, wonders and adventure waiting for him in the land of the Willows.
Willows versus Mankind? Both with capital letters? Sounds like a more fantasy interpretation. I hope they’re not trying to turn a humble, countryside adventure tale into a dark reboot with epic action (though I wouldn’t put it past them). I’m not familiar with Griggs’s work, and considering the plot of Deja Vu, one can only guess what Marsilii’s screenplay is actually like.
The most exciting part for me is Weta’s involvement; their effects work is exceptional and I can’t wait to see what Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad will look like. Griggs expects to announce cast members “soon.” I’m intrigued to see how this turns out.