“We can’t tell you who we are. Or where we live. It’s too risky, and we’ve got to be careful. Really careful. So we don’t trust anyone. Because if they find us… well, we just won’t let them find us…
The thing you should know is that everyone is in really big trouble. Yeah. Even you.”
For many kids in the 90s, those were the words that greeted them whenever they picked up a book from the popular sci-fi series ANIMORPHS by K. A. Applegate. Well, get ready to relive that childhood nostalgia, because according to a report from The Tracking Board, Universal is currently developing an adaptation of the beloved book series, with Deborah Forte producing through Silvertongue Films. Maradith Frenkel is overseeing the project for the studio.
For those unfamiliar with the series, the Scholastic series centered on a group of young teenagers, Jake, Cassie, Marco, Rachel, and Tobias, who stumble across a crashed alien ship on their way home one fateful night. The dying alien warns them that their world is being invaded by an alien species known as the Yeerks, slug-like creatures that have the power to take possession of human hosts. Before he dies, he bestows them with the power to take the form of any animal they touch for two hours, but if they stay in their animal form for longer than that, they’ll be stuck in in that form forever. Knowing now that they can’t trust anyone, the five kids band together to form the Animorphs, dedicated to using their powers to secretly fight the forces slowly trying to take over Earth.
This isn’t the first time the expansive book series has been adapted for the screen. In 1998, a live-action television series starring Shawn Ashmore (from the X-men series) aired on Nickelodeon for two seasons. Forte seems to be the ideal candidate to oversee the adaptation to the big screen, as she was an executive producer of the original television adaptation, as well as a number of other children’s shows from the 90s, including GOOSEBUMPS, CLIFFORD, and THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS. Forte is also producing the upcoming GOOSEBUMPS adaptation. Silvertongue Films was also created for the express purpose of bringing a slate of popular Scholastic properties to the big screen via a three-year first-look deal with Universal Pictures, so this may simply the beginning of a number of announcements regarding upcoming Scholastic series coming to the big screen. The studio is looking for a writer to pen the script, and based on the report it sounds as though they’re looking for someone who can put a heavy emphasis on the sci-fi elements of the series. Early buzz also suggests that the studio is looking for writer/directors with the same storytelling styles as Joe Cornish (ATTACK THE BLOCK) and Gavin Hood (ENDER’S GAME).
As someone who began reading these books when I was in 3rd grade, the series was a very important part of my childhood. I remember being excited when school handed out book orders, Scholastic book catalogs that I could use to purchase the latest in the series. I remember being thrilled when new characters were added to the series, and I remember being furious and heartbroken as a teenager when the series finally ended with the somber message about the very real consequences of war. The live-action series never captured the emotion of the books, often coming across as more campy and fun than dark and foreboding. In the television series, the Yeerks always came across as bumbling cartoon villains (even though it was a live-action show) rather than an insidious intergalactic force working to manipulate world events to eventually enslave all of humanity. However, with the current trend of young adult novels becoming films with great visual effects and mature themes, maybe now is in fact the best time to adapt the series.
What do you think of the news? Be sure to let us know @TheMovieChickk!