With “Paddington 2” still riding high at the British box office, the team behind the hit movie is developing another children’s classic, “Magic Faraway Tree,” an adventure novel by Enid Blyton.
The project first came to light in 2014 when Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris’ Neal Street Productions said they were working on a movie. StudioCanal, the European studio behind the Paddington films, is now on board, and Simon Farnaby, who wrote the new film starring the stuffed bear, is attached to write the Blyton adaptation. It marks the first time the Blyton’s 1943 novel has been taken to the big screen.
Blyton, a prolific author of books read by generations of British schoolchildren, wrote four “Faraway Tree” books. “Magic Faraway Tree” is the second in the series. Each book takes place in the enchanted forest in which the special tree grows; the tree is tall enough to reach the clouds and large enough to contain small houses. Discovered by the books’ child heroes, the tree and forest provide the background to their adventures.
Neal Street has licensed all four “Faraway Tree” books from Hachette Children’s Group. Harris and Nicolas Brown from Neal Street will produce the film.
“‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ books are a firework display of the imagination,” writer Farnaby said. “The pages are lit up with wonderful characters, humor, peril and adventure.”
The film is part of Studiocanal’s drive to become a premier purveyor of family movies. “Enid Blyton’s work is timeless,” said Danny Perkins, CEO of StudioCanal UK. “Not unlike the work of Michael Bond [the creator of Paddington Bear], we very much look forward to bringing enduring family classics to audiences worldwide.”
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO at Hachette Children’s Group, said: “We can’t wait to see it realized on the big screen and couldn’t be happier to be working with StudioCanal and Neal Street, whose track record with beloved childhood classics from ‘Paddington’ to ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ speaks for itself.”