In a prolific career that has yielded numerous iconic movies, Ron Howard is set to direct his first animated film. The project is one of four ambitious, original animated and live-action hybrid films he and Brian Grazer have set up through their company Imagine Entertainment, in a joint venture with Australian production engine Animal Logic (“The Lego Movie” franchise, “Happy Feet”).
Howard is attached to direct “The Shrinking of Treehorn,” a children’s book by Florence Parry Heide with illustrations from Edward Gorey, originally published in 1971. Paramount Pictures will release the film. “I’ve long had this passionate point of view that Ron Howard should make a tentpole animated movie. That’s how this started,” said Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic’s entertainment CEO. “It was serendipitous that Imagine was sort of evolving and growing, and Animal Logic was more and more committed to the development and production of our own intellectual property. We have a shared vision of what that space can be,” he said.
“Treehorn” follows a young man who begins shrinking in size after playing a strange board game, which goes largely unnoticed by his parents. The visual language of the film will closely follow Gorey’s aesthetic. Rob Lieber (“Peter Rabbit,” “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day”) is writing the script. Also set up at Paramount is an original conceit deeply rooted in Australian aboriginal culture, a creation story called “Rainbow Serpent” from writer Stuart Beattie (“Pirates of the Caribbean”, “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra”).