×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Backs ‘Jacob and the Sea Beast’ From ‘Big Hero 6’ Director Chris Williams (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix is bolstering its family entertainment offerings by getting into business with one of the biggest names in animation.

The streaming giant will produce “Jacob and the Sea Beast,” a new film from Chris Williams, the co-director of the Disney films “Moana,” “Big Hero 6,” and “Bolt.” The movie will be Williams’ first as solo director, a rarity in animation, where the scale and complexity of the projects typically demands a few hands at the tiller.

Williams wrote the screenplay, which, according to the log line, follows “a charming seafarer who sails into uncharted waters and discovers an unlikely ally in a sea monster.” The film was partly inspired by the fantastical beasts that adorned 16th and early 17th century nautical maps. Their presence alluded to the undiscovered countries that lay beyond the borders of the known world.

“‘Jacob and the Sea Beast’ is the kind of story I’ve always wanted to take on,” said Williams in a statement. “It’s a tale of high adventure where our hero leaves the known world and ventures out into uncharted waters. As it turns out, I’m doing the same thing.”

Williams also spoke warmly of Disney, offering that he was “…grateful for the opportunities provided by my former creative home” and adding that he was “…excited to leap into a new environment. I feel a great energy at Netflix, as amazingly talented artists from a wide variety of backgrounds are coming together to build something new.”

Williams is an Oscar winner for “Big Hero 6.” He was also nominated for best animated feature for “Bolt.”

Netflix has been investing heavily in original animated programming in recent months. The company recently announced that it is backing Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion adaptation of “Pinocchio” and “Over the Moon,” an animated fantasy film from “The Little Mermaid” director Glen Keane. Much of this work has been done since Melissa Cobb, a former Dreamworks Animation executive, was hired in 2017 to oversee Netflix’s kids and family team.

“Chris is one of the most talented filmmakers working in animation today and his distinct voice comes through in this touching tale of ancient hunters who struggle to capture a beautiful, mythical sea creature on the high seas,” Cobb said in a statement. “His is precisely the kind of grand, adventure-filled story with smart and nuanced characters that we look for in family animated projects at Netflix.”

Netflix expects the feature film to be released on its platform in 2022. Williams is represented by UTA.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Mackenzie Davis Terminator Dark Fate

    ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Ads placed for the sci-fi action film had an estimated media value of $6.81 million through Sunday for 796 national ad airings [...]

  • Judy & Punch review

    Damon Herriman Stands Out as 'The Nightingale' and 'Lambs of God' Lead AACTA Nominations

    Dark thriller, “The Nightingale” and miniseries “Lambs of God” lead the pack at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. In nominations announced on Wednesday, they picked up 15 and 18 nods, respectively. Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” was one of six films nominated in the best film category. With others including Mirrah Foulkes’ [...]

  • Daisy Ridley is Rey in STAR

    'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Scores Best First-Day Atom Ticket Sales for a 'Star Wars' Film

    Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker” has racked up the best first day of advance ticket sales for a “Star Wars” movie ticketed by Atom. Sales launched during the half time of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Atom’s overall first-day record was set in April by Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame.” But “Star Wars: The Rise of [...]

  • Cardi B

    Cardi B Joins Vin Diesel in 'Fast & Furious 9'

    Cardi B has joined the cast of Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” in an undisclosed role. It’s the rapper’s first movie part since her role as the stripper Diamond in STX’s drama “Hustlers.” Vin Diesel disclosed the casting Tuesday in a post on his Instagram account with a video that showed him and Cardi B [...]

  • James Wan

    Film News Roundup: James Wan's Horror Thriller 'Malignant' Gets August Release

    In today’s film news roundup, James Wan’s “Malignant” gets a late-summer release, a Rita Hayworth documentary is shooting and Women in Animation have announced diversity awards winners. RELEASE DATE Warner Bros. has set an Aug. 14 release date for James Wan’s horror thriller “Malignant.” Wan will direct the movie, based on a story by Wan [...]

  • Michael Shannon Benedict Cumberbatch Tuppence Middleton

    How Martin Scorsese Saved 'Current War' From Harvey Weinstein

    Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon finally gets to release his version of his long-in-the-making “The Current War.” The film, about the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, was originally set to be distributed by the Weinstein Company after Harvey Weinstein recut it, much to Gomez-Rejon’s chagrin. To make matters worse, Weinstein premiered the movie at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content