Netflix announced today a new animated feature film currently in production, The Magician’s Elephant, based on two-time Newbery Award winner Kate DiCamillo’s novel of the same title. The CG animation is being provided by Australian studio Animal Logic (Happy Feet, The LEGO Movie).
When Peter (voiced by Ford v Ferrari‘s Noah Jupe), who is searching for his long-lost sister named Adel (Pixie Davies), crosses paths with a fortune teller in the market square, there is only one question on his mind: is his sister still alive? The answer, that he must find a mysterious elephant and the magician (Benedict Wong) who will conjure it, sets Peter off on a harrowing journey to complete three seemingly impossible tasks that will change the face of his town forever.
In addition to Jupe, Davies and Wong, the voice cast includes Sian Clifford, Natasia Demetriou, Dawn French, Brian Tyree Henry, Aasif Mandvi, Mandy Patinkin, Miranda Richardson, Cree Summer and Lorraine Toussaint.
The film marks the directorial debut of renowned visual effects veteran Wendy Rogers (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Puss in Boots, Flushed Away) and is produced by Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events).
“Peter’s story planted itself in my heart when I first read the book — I felt very connected to him, and was totally captivated by the world and the characters,” said Rogers. “The power of hope, the belief that anything is possible, and the ability to ask ‘what if?’ are all themes that are woven into the fabric of this film, and resonate now more than ever.”
Pistor commented, “When I first read Kate DiCamillo’s book, I knew that I had to make The Magician’s Elephant into a film. It’s as inspiring as it is entertaining, and has such a wonderful blend of adventure, heart, magic and off-center humor. The film has such a unique visual style that transports the audience away to another world, one that Wendy and I wanted to ensure reflects the world as it really is =- full of different cultures and beliefs.”
The adaptation is written by Martin Hynes (Toy Story 4), and the pedigreed creative team also includes production designer Max Boas (Abominable), art director Iuri Lioi (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy), editor Robert Fisher Jr. (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), pre-vis lead Gary H. Lee (Kung Fu Panda), head of story Mark Sperber (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) and line producer Jennifer Teter (Sherlock Gnomes).
The Magician’s Elephant joins Netflix’s fast growing original slate of animated features which includes Academy Award-nominated Klaus, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys, Oscar winner Glen Keane’s Over the Moon; as well as the Fall 2021 comedy Back to the Outback directed by Clare Knight and Harry Cripps, Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure, Chris Williams’ The Sea Beast, Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild, Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and Aardman Animations’ sequel to Chicken Run.