Joanna Cole wrote the books with Bruce Degen as illustrator. The science-centered series features the intrepid Ms. Frizzle and her class, who set out on field trips in their familiar-looking yellow school bus that magically transforms into a plane, submarine, spaceship, or surfboard, depending on the science concept being explored. Over 80 million books are in print of The Magic School Bus worldwide.
Banks will play teacher extraordinaire Ms. Frizzle and she will produce with Max Handelman for Brownstone Productions as well as President and Chief Strategy Officer Iole Lucchese and SVP & General Manager Caitlin Friedman of Scholastic Entertainment, and Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions. Alison Small serves as Executive Producer for Brownstone Productions.
“We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young learners every day,” said Lucchese. “We’re also extremely excited to be working with such top-tier partners as Elizabeth Banks, Marc Platt Productions, Brownstone Productions, Universal Pictures, and all of the amazing talent assembled for this noteworthy feature film.”
Ryan Christians from Marc Platt Productions will oversee production with Sara Scott and Lexi Barta from Universal Pictures.
The Magic School Bus books were first adapted into a PBS animated TV series, featuring Lily Tomlin in the starring role as Ms. Frizzle and aired for 18 consecutive years in the U.S. and in more than 100 countries around the world, making it the longest-running kids science series in history. The series earned more than 100 awards, including an Emmy Award, Annenberg Award and National Education Association Award.
An animated sequel to the original series, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, featuring Kate McKinnon (SNL) as Ms. Frizzle’s sister, Fiona, debuted on Netflix in 2017. Multi-award-winning composer/lyricist/playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights) sang the theme song.