EXCLUSIVE: Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios have optioned rights to the graphic novel Canto and are adapting the fantasy series as an animated feature.
Co-creator and writer of Canto, David M. Booher is set to write the screenplay and will executive produce the project alongside co-creator and series illustrator Drew Zucker. Westbrook Studios Co-President and Head of Motion Pictures, Jon Mone will produce. Ryan Shimazaki will oversee the project on behalf of Westbrook Studios.
For generations, Canto and his fellow tin-people have been enslaved in the land of Arcana, their hearts replaced with clocks. Though love is forbidden, that hasn’t stopped Canto from falling in love with a Tin Girl. When the slavers damage the tin girl’s clock beyond repair, Canto leaves Arcana to go on a quest and find his people’s missing hearts. Along the way, Canto befriends a fierce Malorex, finds a Hermit who lives in a mechanical squid, and works with a mysterious warrior named Aulaura who helps him infiltrate the City of Dis. At the Emerald Tower, Canto confronts the wizard behind it all, the Shrouded Man, and learns the fate of his true love’s heart. The graphic novel is Inspired by The Wizard of Oz and Dante’s Inferno, Canto.
“David and Drew have created a world full of adventure, determination and hope,” said Mone. “It reminds us of the importance of love and to fight for those we care about and we are so thrilled to work with them to share the magic of this inspiring little hero on the big screen.”
“It’s rare to find a partner like Westbrook who shares our values, both creatively and personally,” says Booher. “Like us, Jon and Ryan see Canto as a story about hope, and I’m thrilled to work with them to bring it to the screen.”
Zucker adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to have Westbrook as partners in sending Canto onto his next adventure.”
The six-issue fantasy series was published by IDW Publishing with the first issue released in June 2019.
Booher and Zucker are represented by CAA, Eric Borja at Alldayeveryday, and David Jelenko at Lichter Grossman.
Upcoming Westbrook Studios features include the remake of the 1980s classic Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring Will Smith and Kevin Hart, Emancipation which sold to Apple in the largest film festival acquisition deal in film history, the highly anticipated King Richard based on the life of Richard Williams, father to tennis greats Serena and Venus and the upcoming sports drama Redd Zone, starring Jada Pinkett Smith.
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