U.K. studio Locksmith is creating “The Empty Stocking,” an animated feature based on a series of Richard Curtis-penned children’s books.
Veteran producer Bonnie Arnold (“How to Train Your Dragon”) will oversee the project, which will be for release on digital platforms. She will work alongside Locksmith chiefs Sarah Smith and Julie Lockhart.
Locksmith is partnering on the feature with Curtis and his team, which includes illustrator Rebecca Cobb, executive Colin Hopkins, and writer Peter Souter, who will pen the screenplay.
The three books in Curtis’ Puffin-published series are “The Empty Stocking,” “Snow Day,” and the forthcoming “That Christmas.” Each tells a family story that takes place in the run up to Christmas, in a rural coastal town based on Curtis’s home. The trio of stories will be interwoven for the feature.
This will mark the first animated film project for Curtis. “It’s been such a pleasure writing these books – with Rebecca Cobb’s wonderful drawings – that I’m thrilled about the idea of turning them into a film,” he said. “When I was young ‘Charlie Brown’s Christmas’ was my favorite Christmas thing – and I love the idea of making something that might be a joy at Christmas.
“I hope we can make it funny and touching and conjure up some of the magic that Christmas movies have always done for me and my family.”
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London-based Locksmith, which was co-founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, recently struck theatrical distribution deal with Warner Bros. Speaking about the “The Empty Stocking,” Smith said: “It is a perfect opportunity to expand Locksmith’s stories into new formats, and forge new relationships with digital platforms.”