Acker to Direct Live-Action ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ Movie

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Shane Acker, who directed the animated short and feature film 9, has signed on to directed a live-action Thomas the Tank Engine movie, according to Deadline.com.

Acker will direct from a script by Chris Viscardi & Will McRobb and Josh Klausner. Weta Workshop and Mattel’s entertainment properties design team also on board, with financing and distribution to be sold by Cinetic Media and the UTA Independent Film Group.

Acker told the site he wants to broaden the movie’s audience beyond pre-schoolers. ”I’m a recent father, with a 20-month old daughter,” he said. “We lead such busy lives in Hollywood, always running and hustling, but children tend to slow you down a bit and reconnect you with that inner world. It reinvents your imagination, seeing things through a child’s eyes It was transformative  for me and that is what inspired me about the possibilities here. The tale will revolve around a pre-teen boy who has drifted apart from his father. The son is introduced into this world of Sodor, a place his father visited as a child but can’t remember. There is a bonding experience.”

Julia Pistor (Charlotte’s Web, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events) is producing the movie for HIT Entertainment and its movies division.