EXCLUSIVE: Two weeks out from its production start, the Fox motion capture picture Mouse Guard has been mouse trapped by Disney. The project was developed by Fox with the adaptation of David Petersen’s Eisner-winning comic book series to be directed by Wes Ball. The film had set to star Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Sonoya Mizuno, the latter of whom starred in Crazy Rich Asians and was just recently set to play the title character in the motion capture shot film.
The story takes place in medieval times and follows a brotherhood of mice sworn to protect the fellow rodents in their midst. Matt Reeves is producing the film through his 6th & Idaho shingle along with Boom! Studios’ Ross Richie and Stephen Christy, as well as Ball and Wes and his producing partner Joe Hartwick via the OddBall production company banner.
This is happening in real time, and I heard Disney brass looked at it carefully and the feeling was it wasn’t a good fit. It’s Game of Thrones with mice. It is an important development as the film carries a large budget, and it was the reason Fox gave Boom! Studios a first look deal.
This isn’t to say Disney isn’t leaning in on Fox-developed films, with the Avatar films, Kingsman, the Fear Street trilogy, Free Guy, West Side Story and Death on the Nile all coming. But Disney wants Fox to move away from the younger demo projects it has in surplus and shift the focus to all audience fare with PG-13 and R-rated fare.
The filmmakers are now trying to set it up elsewhere, including at Netflix. Let’s see what happens.