Andy Serkis (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) is directing an animated adaptation of George Orwell’s classic novella Animal Farm for Aniventure and his company The Imaginarium. Production is underway at Cinesite, which is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary as a world leader in animation and VFX.
The dystopian fable published in 1945 watches as a group of farm animals rebel against their human owner, in hopes of creating a society where they can be equal, free and happy. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels between 1923 to 2005, and won Orwell a Restrospective Hugo Award. It’s previously been adapted for radio and the stage, with John Halas and Joy Batchelor mounting a film adaptation in 1954, and John Stephenson adapting it into a TNT TV movie in 1999.
Nicholas Stoller (Storks, Captain Underpants) adapted the screenplay for Serkis’ long-gestating film, previously set up at Netflix, which he will produce with Adam Nagle (Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank), Dave Rosenbaum (Hitpig) and Imaginarium’s Jonathan Cavendish (Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle).
“The challenging journey to bring this extraordinary story to the screen has been finally rewarded by the opportunity to partner with the brilliant team at Aniventure and Cinesite,” said Serkis. “Together we hope to make our version of Orwell’s ever relevant masterpiece, emotionally powerful, humorous, and relatable for all ages. A tale not only for our times, but for generations to come.”
“Ever since 1945, when George Orwell first published Animal Farm, the story has remained relevant and a key instrument in understanding how the world works,” added Nagle. “Andy has had a special talent for creating unique and memorable characters during his remarkable career and we’re thrilled to be working with him, Jonathan and Cinesite to adapt Animal Farm for modern audiences.”
Serkis is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor, filmmaker and performance capture trailblazer who has previously helmed features including Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle and Breathe, most recently appearing as Alfred in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Aniventure was established in 2014 to create original feature animated content with high production values. In the past eight years, the company has acquired and created a wide range of content for development and production, with two films (Riverdance: The Animated Adventure and Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank) complete and with distribution.
Serkis and Cavendish’s Imaginarium is a a next-generation storytelling production company, whose sister company is the performance capture studio, Imaginarium Studios. Its TV shows include Fungus the Bogeyman for Sky, Death and Nightingales for BBC and the upcoming Half Bad for Netflix. Other films include The Ritual for Netflix, and Taika Waititi’s upcoming Next Goal Wins, starring Michael Fassbender and Elisabeth Moss.
Serkis is represented by CAA, Principal Entertainment LA and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole; Stoller by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham.