〉The popular book series was previously adapted into a TV show on Nickelodeon
Fresh off our report that Sony is developing a Goosebumps sequel, it’s now been confirmed to us here at The Tracking Board that Universal is intending to reboot another beloved ’90s book series. That’s right, ANIMORPHS is currently in development, with Deborah Forte producing via her Silvertongue Films shingle. Maradith Frenkel is overseeing the project for the studio.
Animorphs marks the latest in ’90s titles to see a big screen adaptation, with Paramount even planning a Nicktoons crossover movie. The bestselling sci-fi book series, written by K. A. Applegate and published by Scholastic, follows a group of teens who come across a crashed spaceship with a dying alien being inside.
The teens are then individually granted an extraordinary gift, the ability to shape-shift into any animal that they touch. Codenaming themselves Animorphs (combo of “animal morphers”), they use their powers to combat a secret alien invasion of creatures that possess the bodies of humans.
The books, which became instantly recognizable due to covers featuring a person transforming into an animal, was a success, leading to companion novels and spanning an impressive 54 entries in the series. Animorphs also gained notoriety from the 1998 TV series that aired on Nickelodeon, which actually starred X-Men actor Shawn Ashmore and Royal Pains‘ Paulo Costanzo.
Forte is the perfect person to shepherd the adaptation, as Silvertongue was specifically formed to adapt Scholastic’s vast library of titles under a three-year deal with Universal.
Forte also served as an executive producer on the original Anirmorphs series, as well as on Goosebumps, Clifford, and The Magic School Bus. Forte is currently producing Sony’s Goosebumps film, which bows on October 16th, as well as a Clifford the Big Red Dog adaptation for Universal.
Our sources confirm that the studio is now looking for a writer to script their take on the film, which is said to put a heavy focus on the sci-fi nature of the story. We’re also told that the studio is also interested in finding a capable writer/director with a knack for sci-fi, with Attack The Block scribe/director Joe Cornish and Ender’s Game writer/director Gavin Hood described as a template.
It’ll be interesting to see how Animorphs fares in a contemporary landscape, but with careful updating, the franchise has the potential to stand out in a crowded market of dull, conventional dystopian YA properties.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor