The Three Misfortunes of Gepetto scribe Michael Vukadinovich has been tapped to write a fresh take on the beloved children’s classic THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH for Tristar Pictures. The book, first published in 1961, was written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer.
The book tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly received a magic tollbooth one afternoon and, having nothing better to do, decides to drive through it in his toy car. The tollbooth transports him to a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom, where he acquires two faithful companions, has many adventures, and goes on a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom from a castle in the air.
Donald De Line is producing through his De Line Pictures with Ed McDonnell of Maple Shade Films. Nicole Brown is the studio exec for Tristar.
The project has been in development for several years with various producers and only recently moved to Tristar from Warner Bros., where Gary Ross was previously attached to direct a script from Watchmen scribe Alex Tse. It’s no wonder that attempts to adapt the book to the big screen endure, as fans and critics alike favorably compare it to A Wrinkle in Time, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz.
Vukadinovich, who landed on the 2011 Hit List and Black List with his spec The Three Misfortunes of Gepetto and later made his way to the 2014 Young & Hungry List, seems like an appropriate choice to adapt the book. He recently tackled drafts of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for Disney and the The Wind and the Willows remake starring Ricky Gervais. He is currently adapting Matthew Quick’s YA novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock for Channing Tatum and TWC.
Josh Lyons | Managing Editor