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Peter T Chattaway

The Little Prince

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French duo plan 'Little Prince' 3D film

PARIS -- French producers Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam are preparing a stereoscopic 3D animated feature adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic children's tale, "The Little Prince."

The pair have secured rights from Saint-Exupery's family for the €45 million ($60.8 million) movie, meaning "Prince" is likely to be one of the biggest European projects this year.

Pic will closely follow the book, centering on the friendship between a downed pilot lost in the desert and a boy with magic powers. Production is set to begin in early 2011.Saint-Exupery's great-nephew Olivier d'Agay has come on board to advise the producers."I'm a fan of Aton and Dimitri's past films, notably 'Renaissance' and 'The Children of Timpelbach,'?" said d'Agay. "I'm confident they have the necessary experience and creativity to give 'The Little Prince' the modern treatment it deserves."

Penned in 1943, the book has been translated into more than 180 languages and sold more than 80 million copies.

"We aim at making 'The Little Prince' an animated-feature that has a universal appeal in the vein of Miyazaki and Pixar films," Soumache said. . . .

Soumache is also developing a spinoff animated TV series loosely based on the book. Series, budgeted at $27.5 million, follows a boy traveling among planets looking for his home asteroid. . . .

Variety, February 22

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I've always been dubious about this being adapted. I think it is the only book I feel this way about - perhaps because I discovered it by myself when about 8 or so, and my experience of it was of solitary delight in its melancholic vision of childhood. It somehow adds to it, makes for a deeper private experience. I also think that the story, the words, just don't work in a form other than written. They sound clumsy when spoken out loud and yet are beautiful when read. I suppose that's why the press release emphasises how it will change - a 'modern treatment'.

I hate to be sceptical of things before seeing the finished product, but I would like this particular vestige of my childhood to remain untampered with.

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Hmmm. The IMDb indicates that this story has been adapted several times already. Have you seen any of those versions? (And if none of those versions made a terribly lasting impression, then I wouldn't worry too much about this new one. Or at least, I'd try not to. :) )

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The first time I heard of The Little Prince was when Lost used it for an episode title. I read it fairly soon after that (Lost also convinced me to read The Turn of The Screw by Henry James), and now it's one of my favorite children's stories. It does seem like it would be a hard story to adapt well, though.

Edited by tyler1984

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'Little Prince' toon gets a helmer

PARIS -- Top U.S. toon helmer Mark Osborne, who co-directed "Kung Fu Panda," has been tapped to direct Gallic S3D animated feature "The Little Prince." . . .

Osborne's involvement underscores the producers' ambition to "make 'The Little Prince' for worldwide audiences on a similar scale as Miyazaki's and Hollywood studios' films," as they previously claimed.

"Having Mark Osborne on board gives the project an international label of quality: He brings in his storytelling talent and level of experience," Rassam said.

The producers are in the process of securing an international voice cast.

Production will start in 2012 for delivery in 2014. . . .

Variety, October 14

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Pretty much what Gigi said. The Little Prince is to Kung Fu Panda as Will Shakespeare is to Jerry Bruckheimer.

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Jeff Bridges to Voice a Lead in 'The Little Prince' as Paramount Circles Movie (Exclusive)

Jeff Bridges is set to voice one of the lead roles in Mark Osborne's adaptation of "The Little Prince," while Paul Giamatti and Mackenzie Foy ("Twilight: Breaking Dawn") are in negotiations for other lead roles in the animated movie, TheWrap has learned.

Additionally, an individual familiar with the project tells TheWrap that Paramount Pictures is coming on to handle distribution in the U.S.

Paramount had no comment.

Other actors being sought for roles include James Franco, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard and Benicio del Toro, though none have officially signed on to the project. . . .

TheWrap.com, June 5

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Has anyone seen the 1974 version, directed by Stanley Donen and written by Alan Lerner (of Lerner and Loewe)?

That's Gene Wilder playing The Fox.

Edited by Tyler

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Interesting - the girl and old man aren't part of the original story, though the prince and fox are fairly faithful to Saint-Exupery's illustrations (as seen on the pages in the trailer).

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Wow - is the old man the narrator of the Little Prince story - the aviator who came across the Prince and tells his story? If so, then the old man *IS* a part of the original story. The stop-motion animation components are breathtaking.

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If so, CrimsonLine, then it's a huge deviation from the original.  The Little Prince is written in the first person, with a narrator who uncannily resembles its author (like the narrator, St-Ex had previously crashed his plane in the Sahara).  Sadly, St-Ex died a year or so after writing The Little Prince, crashing his plane into the Mediterranean during a WW2 combat mission.   

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The 20% that's actually from The Little Prince (the stop-motion construction paper-type stuff) looks great. The rest is frame story anathema.

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I dunno, I think it looks kind of great.  Obviously the original book is a wonderful classic, and it's unlikely any movie will do it full justice.  But this film looks like it is trying to be faithful to the book by presenting it as a story within the film, to show the ways the original story can influence people and shape the way children view the world.  It seems like an honest attempt at paying tribute to the book and Antoine de St.-Exupery himself, while acknowledging the difficulty of making the original story, which is very light on plot and dramatic conflict, into a workable modern movie that could justify in box office the money put into it.  At least, that's the impression and hope I get from this trailer.  And I really like the design of it.

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I dunno, I think it looks kind of great.  Obviously the original book is a wonderful classic, and it's unlikely any movie will do it full justice.  But this film looks like it is trying to be faithful to the book by presenting it as a story within the film, to show the ways the original story can influence people and shape the way children view the world.  It seems like an honest attempt at paying tribute to the book and Antoine de St.-Exupery himself, while acknowledging the difficulty of making the original story, which is very light on plot and dramatic conflict, into a workable modern movie that could justify in box office the money put into it.  At least, that's the impression and hope I get from this trailer.  And I really like the design of it.

I feel the same way. A frame story can be lame, or it can be just what it implies - a way to display the beauty of the story inside.

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Wow.  What a beautiful, gentle and wise film.  It's a remarkably mature story about the importance of childlike stories, which of course touches on the importance of the imagination, but also how the imagination develops and interacts with the real world.   But of course the imagination IS real in the sense that it plays a part in our world.  

The design and the animation is astounding throughout, indeed some of the choices they made are inspired.  This film is a near masterpiece and I can't think of anything that I'd alter.

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I'm very happy to read your comments, Attica. I've heard that it has a new US distributor, so hope it will be available south of the border soon.

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I just about didn't comment because I thought it might be perceived as "rubbing it in" on the Americans here.  Sadly I was the only one in my theatre, although it WAS a Monday night.  I'm going to be telling all of my friends to see this film.

Edited by Attica

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Saw the film with my daughter yesterday (in 2D, not 3D, alas). She said it was good. I certainly liked parts of it quite a bit, but I thought it began to drag, especially in the later scenes.

There's an almost Gilliam-esque quality to the film -- not in the visuals so much, which are a lot tidier, but in the narrative. Reminded me a bit of Munchhausen. And I guess the film's portrayal of bureaucracy has a Brazil-esque quality, though I haven't seen that film in decades.

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