On the heels of the launch of the new hit Amazon Prime series ‘Good Omens’, ULYSSES FILMPRODUKTION and CANTILEVER MEDIA announced today the development of a new animated family film, “The Amazing Maurice” based on one of Sir Terry Pratchett’s wildly popular “Discworld” novels, which have sold more than 90 million books worldwide. The screenplay is written by award winning writer Terry Rossio (Shrek, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean), with the character designs by Carter Goodrich (Ratatouille, The Croods, Brave).
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a children’s fantasy by Sir Terry Pratchett, published by Doubleday in 2001. It was the 28th novel in the Discworld series but the first written for children. The Amazing Maurice is a lively and entertaining adventure inspired by the German fairy tale about the Pied Piper of Hamelin and a parody of the folk tale genre. Pratchett won the annual Carnegie Medal for the book – children’s literature’s highest award. Despite many other awards, honorary degrees and the knighthood that followed, Sir Terry Pratchett always emphasized that this was the award of which he was most proud.
Maurice, a streetwise cat, has the perfect money-making scam. He’s found a dumb-looking kid who plays a pipe, and his very own horde of rats – rats who are strangely educated, and literate, so Maurice can no longer think of them as “lunch”. And everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers… However, when Maurice and the rodents reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, their little con goes down the drain. For someone there is playing a different tune. A dark, shadowy tune. Something very, very bad is waiting in the cellars. It’s not a game anymore. It’s a rat-eat-rat world down there and the educated rats must learn a new word…EVIL.
Emely Christians, Producer and CEO of Ulysses Filmproduktion commented: “’If you don’t turn your life into a story, you become part of someone else’s story,’ says Melissa, the young female lead in The Amazing Maurice. I loved the way Melissa presented her attitude to life in this one sentence. When I read it, I knew we had to turn this amazing novel into an amazing film. The Amazing Maurice will be the first animated feature film ever made from a Terry Pratchett novel. It will get Ulysses’ complete focus and attention to detail to fulfil our promise: to make a wonderful movie from this very funny, unique, strong and awesome story.”
Andrew Baker, Producer and CEO of Cantilever Media, said: “As a lifelong Pratchett fan, bringing to the screen one of his most cherished novels is going to be immensely exciting. Terry Rossio’s screenplay twists and turns and produces an unexpected yet heart-warming ending, with Carter Goodrich’s designs bringing these characters to life in their own unique style, which I’m sure audiences will love.”
Rob Wilkins, Executive Producer and Managing Director of Narrativia, said: “At some point in the late nineties I sat at the polished bar in the Palace Hotel San Francisco enjoying a bottle of local beer with Terry Pratchett. It had been a long day and neither of us had yet eaten and we were less than interested in the baseball game playing loudly on the TV hanging above us. However, we were both very interested in the sixteen foot wide Maxfield Parrish painting of the Pied Piper of Hamelin hanging proudly behind the bar, where it had been on display since 1909. “He does beautiful skies,” said Terry. And, yes, he really did and I agreed, but Terry seemed lost in the painting and so I finished my beer and ordered another. By the time it arrived Terry had sketched out the plot for The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and had played it directly into my brain like a mini movie. They were indeed broad strokes, but the story was there and he had already named Malicia, Peaches, Sardines and – to his great delight – Darktan. That was the genius of Terry Pratchett; he could see stories everywhere. And now he would be delighted with the character designs of Carter Goodrich. Bringing this story to life was so important to Terry and it upsets me that he won’t get to see the finished film, but the teams at Ulysses Filmproduktion and Cantilever Media are honouring his vision and I am absolutely delighted”.
Roddy McManus and Robert Chandler are attached as Executive Producers. The Amazing Maurice is produced by Ulysses Filmproduktion and Cantilever Media, with animation studios Studio Rakete and Squeeze Animation. The Amazing Maurice is produced by Emely Christians and Andrew Baker, and directed by Toby Genkel.