The 1963 vinyl single PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON made popular by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary is being turned into live-action/animated hybrid movie by 20th Century Fox Animation. Trolls director Mike Mitchell is set to helm the film, which will be produced by Safehouse Pictures.
Originally based on a 1959 poem by Leonard Lipton, who later created complete lyrics for the song, Peter Yarrow of the musical group found the lyrics by Lipton via a housemate and turned it into a fully-fledged song, giving Lipton songwriting and lyrics credits.
The poem and song tell the story of Puff, an ageless dragon who lives “by the sea… in a land called Honnah Lee” and befriends a young boy named Jackie Paper. The two frolic and play until it’s revealed that “a dragon lives forever, but not so little boys,” implying Jackie grows up and loses interest in his dragon friend. (Fun fact: The “not so little boys” line has since been changed to “not so girls and boys” by Yarrow to be gender neutral.)
Presumably, the film will follow a similar through line to the song and while this project is based on an existing piece of media, as many other films are right now, there’s more room for originality, especially given the critical success of recent films like Pete’s Dragon.
Safehouse’s Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold who have the rights to the song will produce, while Vanessa Morrison and Nate Hopper will oversee for the studio.
Most recently Safehouse produced the comedy My Blind Brother starring Nick Kroll, Adam Scott, and Jenny Slate, and they wrapped production on Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
Mitchell has had recent success with the DreamWorks film Trolls. Before that he directed films like Sky High, Shrek Forever After, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Coming up he’s set to direct Cops and Robbers for Disney and Monster Squad for Warner Bros., among other titles.
He’s repped by UTA.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor
This news was first reported by Deadline.