The Hollywood Reporter brings word that The Triplets of Belleville director Sylvain Chomet has signed to direct Universal Pictures’ animated feature The Tale of Despereaux, based on the popular children’s book by Kate DiCamillo. Seabiscuit director Gary Ross is producing with Larger Than Prods. partner Allison Thomas.
DiCamillo’s Newbery Award-winning The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread has sold more than one million copies, keeping it on the New York Times best-seller list for 25 weeks. The trade reports that no screenwriter has been attached, though early reports had DiCamillo tapped to adapt her own book.
Like Universal’s upcoming Curious George feature, Desperaux will likely be a 2D film, which should set it apart amidst the sea of 3D toons on the horizon. The feature will center on a mouse that falls in love with a princess and discovers a thirst for knowledge while other mice are eating books. Mary Parent and Damien Saccani are overseeing the project for Universal.
Chomet received worldwide recognition when his Belleville was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. The film also won Animation Magazine’s reader-voted Oscar poll. Chomet’s first brush with Oscar came in 1998 when his La Vieille dame et les pigeons (The Old Lady and the Pigeons) was up for Best Short.