Weta Workshop Behind New Animatronic 'Wind in the Willows'
by Alex Billington
June 10, 2010
Whoa, this might be pretty cool. Variety has announced that RG Entertainment is developing a "live-action and animatronics version" of The Window and the Willows, Kenneth Grahame's classic 1908 fairy tale. The film will start shooting this fall down in New Zealand with Peter Jackson's visual effects company Weta Workshop on-board to create the animals. Director Ray Griggs (of Super Capers, I Want Your Money) will helm and produce with a $30 million budget. The script was penned by Deja Vu writer Bill Marsilii, who recently sold a big sci-fi script he co-wrote with Terry Rossio to Jerry Bruckheimer. So far so good. Read on!
So what is Wind and the Willows again? The classic story is about four talking animals - Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad - and mixes mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie. You might know it better as The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad, which is what it was adapted into by Disney in 1949. It's also had some live-action adaptations, one just as recent as 1996. Anyway, in Marsilii's script, the animals join forces to save their land from a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the uneasy truce between the peaceful animals of the Willows and what remains of Mankind. The story begins when Mole ventures out of his lonely home for the first time and encounters a world of new friendships, wonders and adventure waiting for him.
"At its heart, The Wind in the Willows is a story of friendship and the joys of home," Griggs told Variety. Wow this sounds wonderful. It also sounds like it'll be pretty weird, visually at least. Griggs plans to record dialogue from his actors first, then shoot the film with the actors in animal costumes with state-of-the-art animatronics being used to duplicate their facial expressions. That kind of sounds like Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox meets Where the Wild Things Are, all created and manufactured by Weta Workshop! Oh man, this is almost too good to be true. Definitely will be looking forward to this. Anyone else excited?