Prepare to feel pleasantly nostalgic, as the beloved locomotive with the slightly creepy face, Thomas the Tank Engine, is chugging his way back onto the big screen courtesy of Mattel Films and Marc Forster’s production company 2Dux². Described as a mixture of CGI and live-action akin to Alvin and the Chipmunks and Detective Pikachu, the script for the new take on Thomas & Friends is ready to go with director Marc Forster on board to helm the project.
“Thomas has been a personal favorite of mine since childhood,” said Marc Forster. “I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Robbie and the entire team at Mattel, and embarking on this beautiful journey with such a timeless property.”
Forster is best known for directing the apocalyptic action horror World War Z starring Brad Pitt and the twenty-second movie in the James Bond franchise and second starring Daniel Craig, Quantum of Solace. He is also the director behind the likes of Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction, and the intense romantic drama Monster’s Ball.
Forster will also be co-producing Thomas the Tank Engine alongside Robbie Brenner as an executive producer, and Kevin McKeon as a supervising producer, who will both lead the project for Mattel Films.
“Thomas is a beloved global franchise that focuses on the importance of friendship, a theme that resonates deeply with children and parents around the world,” said producer Robbie Brenner. “Marc is an incredible storyteller and I look forward to partnering with him to tell Thomas’ story in a modern and unexpected way.”
Renée Wolfe, co-founder, and co-CEO of 2Dux² will also produce Thomas & Friends. Jesse Wigutow and Alyssa Hill have written the script. Jesse Wigutow is writing the upcoming Tron sequel, Tron 3, and also wrote the comedy-drama It Runs in the Family starring Kirk and Michael Douglas. Alyssa Hill meanwhile is best known for her work in the art department on horror movies such as The Curse of La Llorona and Truth or Dare, though it is unlikely she will be using her knowledge from those movies when adapting the gentle and friendly Thomas & Friends. Although, over the years fans have noticed horrific moments from the television show, so perhaps this adaptation will be nothing like we expect.
The cherished television series Thomas & Friends is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Thomas the Tank Engine was first created in 1945 by Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son Christopher. Spanning TV and toy lines, the series Thomas & Friends aired its first season back in 1984 and is now in its 24th season. The property has been developed for the big screen before back in 2000 with Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Starring Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor, Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn, Russell Means, Cody McMains, Michael E. Rodgers, and Eddie Glen as the voice of Thomas, the movie only managed to gross $19.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $19 million and was slaughtered by critics who just weren’t ready to enter this magical world of anthropomorphized locomotives.
Thomas & Friends is just one of several Mattel Films projects currently in development including American Girl, Barbie, Barney, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, View Master and Wishbone. This comes to us from Deadline.