4 years to draw a movie?
It was just announced that a new movie version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas will be released on November 17, 2017. Yes, almost four years from now.
The movie will be directed by Pete Candeland based on a script from Michael LeSieur. The movie studio is Illumination Entertainment, which is partly owned by Universal.
According to a story in Variety, Peter Candeland was chosen as the director by Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment in part due to his distinct look and work on music videos for The Gorillaz. However, this will be his first feature direction. Variety referred to this as a roll of the dice. According to the International Movie Data Base, Candeland has only directed twice: in 2009 a video short called Harmonix: The Beatles – Rock Band, and in 2002 the video documentary Gorillaz: Phase One – Celebrity Take Down.
Although Pete has more experience as an animator, the resume is still sparse with nothing at all in a dozen years since 2002. Right now, this, and the four year production time do not bode well.
Michael LeSieur’s resume as a writer is just as sparse. Two movies to his name: You, Me and Dupree from 2006 and the 2009 film the Maiden Heist. Neither was an animation, and neither was a hit.
This will be a new animated version. It will not be a sequel to the original Dr. Seuss animation and is not a remake of the Jim Carrey live action movie.
Fortunately, the movie producers are Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy. Meledandri has significant movie experience, including animations of other Dr. Seuss material including The Lorax and Horton Hears a Who! The last couple years Healy has also been active producing a number of projects. An executive producer is claimed to be Audrey Geisel, the 90- year old widow of Dr. Seuss. She will be 93 or 94 when the movie is finally released. Here’s hoping she is still around in the four years it takes to make this.
Dr. Seuss’ animated movie is a yearly holiday favorite. One of the most enduring and loved films. That is a tough standard against which to create a new version, especially with essentially rookies in control. Come Christmas in 2017 we will know if this was a good decision.