EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Animation has set Jimmy Miller’s Mosaic and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions on Manimal, the feature based on the cult 1980s TV show about a man who fights crime using his ability to morph into animals. Miller, Ferrell, and McKay will produce along with original series co-creator Glen A. Larson, and Key & Peele EPs Jay Martel and Ian Roberts already have been tapped to write.
The original 1983 series starred Simon MacCorkindale as Dr. Jonathan Chase, a dashing and wealthy man raised in Africa who was also “master of the secrets that divide man from animal.” It was cancelled after eight episodes, only to live on in the hearts of a devoted cult fandom (flash back with a clip from Manimal below). Sony Pictures Animation’s live-action/animation hybrid will reinvent that concept as an action-comedy with heavy visual effects and animated elements. SPA President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate and SVP Michael Lachance are overseeing for the studio.
After finishing Anchorman 2, Ferrell and McKay zeroed in on the Manimal project as a prime addition to the growing Gary Sanchez lineup that includes TV and film projects and the new female-oriented Gloria Sanchez offshoot. “I think it’s right down our alley, it’s what we do,” said McKay. “It’s tongue-in-cheek and has an action component, but overall it’s a comedy.” Miller, Ferrell, and McKay will next hunt for a director.
“Like The Catcher In The Rye or The Sound And The Fury, Manimal has always been one of those elusive projects every producer dreams of taking to the silver screen,” said McKay. “I know the movie will be funny and entertaining, but will it be the first film to win a Pulitzer? We’ll just have to see.”
Miller’s Mosaic previously teamed up with Ferrell and McKay to produce The Other Guys, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights and recently produced Bad Teacher. TV super-producer Larson created popular series Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider and Magnum, P.I. Gary Sanchez Productions’ credits include Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and Anchorman 2. Martel and Roberts were previously tapped by Gary Sanchez to write the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, which WB will release in March. Sony Animation is at work on Hotel Transylvania 2, coming in 2015; a fully animated Smurfs pic in 2016; animated Popeye from director Genndy Tartakovsky; animated feature Medusa from director Lauren Faust; and the live-action/stop-motion hybrid Superbargo from the exec producers of Robot Chicken.