In November of 2015, a report revealed that Sony Pictures was developing a live-action/CG hybrid film adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series of books. Will Gluck was set to write, direct, and produce via his Sony-based Olive Branch Entertainment, and the movie’s plot would combine elements from several books.
Now, thanks to two recent reports from Variety, we know that the movie is indeed moving forward, with actors, an animation studio, and even a shooting location.
First, let’s start with the actors. The first report from early last month confirmed that actor James Cordon (of The Late Late Show fame) and Rose Byrne (Neighbors and X-Men movies) were confirmed to star in the movie. While Byrne is said to play an as-of-yet unknown live-action role, James Cordon…will not be the voice of Peter Rabbit (the search for that actor is still ongoing). Instead, he will play the live-action role of Mr. McGregor, a recurring villain and elderly Scotsman (in the books) who maintains a vegetable garden that Peter occasionally raids for food. In addition to keeping hungry rabbits out of his garden, he also fantasizes about cooking rabbits into his pies and eating them.
Cordon joins a small list of actors who have portrayed the character in other mediums (primarily TV). Kevin Clash (of Sesame Street fame) voiced the character in HBO’s 1991 animated musical adaptation The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In BBC’s 1992 The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, the character is voiced by two different actors in two episodes. In “The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny”, Richard Wilson voices the character, while Andrew Robertson (Doctor Who and Blake’s 7) voiced the character in “The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse.” In the current Nickelodeon series (simply titled Peter Rabbit), voice-over actor David B. Mitchell voices him.
It’s worth noting that Cordon will be the second youngest actor to portray the character (he’s 38, while Kevin Clash was 30 at the time).
Moving on, the second report revealed not one, but two things. One, Sony will shoot the live-action photography in Sydney, Australia. This was made possible by New South Wales’ ‘Made in NSW’ fund, which provided an injection of regional government finance.
“This production, secured for NSW through the government’s new $20 million Made in NSW fund, will create jobs for 55 local actors and more than 600 crew, and will showcase our state to the world,” Tony Grant, New South Wales’ deputy premier and minister for the arts, said in a statement to the press.
“The (NSW) region is famous for verdant beauty that will provide ‘Peter Rabbit’ with a warm and impressive backdrop,” said Andy Davis, Columbia Pictures’ president of production administration, according to local media.
Two, it was assumed that Sony Pictures Animation would be in charge of the animation part of the film. Well, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.
Instead, handling the animation for the movie will be Animal Logic Entertainment, best known as the animators for The LEGO Movie and the visual effects providers for films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past. Zareh Nabadian, the studio’s co-founder, will produce. Conveniently enough, Animal Logic is based in Sydney, Australia (the studio reposted Tony Grant’s statement on its website).
According to Animal Logic, production on the animation has already begun, while live-action photography will begin in January of 2017.
What do you think? Does this news make you excited for this movie?
Edited by: Kelly Conley