Fresh off the heels of his role as President Business in The LEGO Movie, Will Ferrell is starting to get more involved in the business side of making movies. Gary Sanchez Productions, which Ferrell runs alongside Anchorman director Adam McKay, has signed on to produce a big-screen adaptation of 80s cult TV series Manimal. Jimmy Miller and series co-creator Glen A. Larson are also tapped to produce, while Key & Peele scribes Jay Martel and Ian Roberts are working on the script.
Manimal, which had a brief, eight-episode run on television in 1983, follows Dr. Jonathan Chase, a shape-shifter who fought crime by morphing into animals. While it is not surprising that a show with that premise was cancelled so abruptly, Ferrell and McKay are promising additions to a film that could be very funny. With Manimal, Sony Pictures Animation hopes to have a hybrid of live-action and animation, similar to their Smurfs franchise, as well as a mix of action and comedy. At least the kitsch will be played for laughs this time.
McKay is optimistic about the project, telling Deadline:
“Like The Catcher in the Rye or The Sound and the Fury, Manimal has always been one of those elusive projects every producer dreams of taking to the silver screen. I know the movie will be funny and entertaining but will it be the first film to win a Pulitzer? We’ll just have to see.”
The one caveat is that Ferrell has not had the best of luck with TV-to-film adaptations. While he was funny in Starsky and Hutch, the less said about Land of the Lost and Bewitched, the better. There is currently no director or actors attached to the film, although one should not be surprised if either McKay or Ferrell end up in those positions.
Manimal is expected to lunge into theatres in late 2015 or early 2016. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.