Terry Pratchett's beloved Discworld is coming to the world of animation courtesy of Ulysses Filmproduktion and Cantilever Media, as The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents will be adapted into an animated film. Terry Rossio (Shrek, Aladdin) is taking care of the screenplay, while Carter Goodrich (Ratatouille, Brave) will be handling character designs. Toby Genkel (Ooops! Noah Is Gone...) will direct the adaptation of the 2001 novel, which is the first children's book in the Discworld series (via Variety).
"Terry Rossio's screenplay twists and turns and produces an unexpected yet heartwarming ending, with Carter Goodrich's designs bringing these characters to life in their own unique style, which I'm sure audiences will love," Baker said. While Baker says the script and tone of the movie will be "very Terry Pratchett" and "very true to his vision," the characters in the movie will look a bit different than the ones on the book's jacket.
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents follows a streetwise cat named Maurice. Maurice has a money making scam all ready to go but his journey takes a detour when he discovers a kid who can control an army of rats with his pipe. It will take both of their skill sets to survive what they find in the town of Bad Blintz, as something deadly lurks beneath the surface.
Baker said the team behind the movie is now looking to finish off financing and should be ready to start production at the end of the year, aiming to hit theaters in early 2022. As for the idea behind the novel, Narrativia managing director Rob Wilkins recalls the night when Pratchett came up with it, in part thanks to inspiration from a painting of the Pied Piper in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
"Terry seemed lost in the painting and so I finished my beer and ordered another," Wilkins said. "By the time it arrived, Terry had sketched out the plot for 'The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents' and had played it directly into my brain like a mini-movie."
Wilkins also added that Pratchett "would be delighted with the character designs of Carter Goodrich. Bringing this story to life was so important to Terry, and it upsets me that he won't get to see the finished film, but the teams at Ulysses Filmproduktion and Cantilever Media are honoring his vision and I am absolutely delighted."
"''The Amazing Maurice' will be the first animated feature film ever made from a Terry Pratchett novel," said Emely Christians, CEO of Ulysses ("Luis & the Aliens"). "It will get Ulysses' complete focus and attention to detail to fulfill our promise: to make a wonderful movie from this very funny, unique, strong and awesome story."
Are you excited for Discworld's animated debut? Let us know in the comments!