Jason Reitman has been on a downward spiral since Up in the Air, and his latest film, last year’s Men, Women & Children, was the worst of the bunch, preachy, tone-deaf and utterly ill-conceived from first frame to last. Now, it appears that the once-promising helmer is taking refuge in less heavy fare – he’s signed on to write and direct Beekle, an adaptation of Dan Santat’s award-winning children’s novel The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, for DreamWorks Animation.
The project marks Reitman’s first venture into animated cinema – his past movies include Juno, Thank You for Smoking, Young Adult and Labor Day, all aimed at much older audiences than Beekle. DreamWorks Animation is hot on Santat’s story, which won the 2015 Caldecott Medal (given annually to the finest American picture book for kids). It centers on an imaginary friend so unique and strange that no child has been able to imagine him yet, leaving him without a human to call his friend. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, Beekle sets off for the land of humans, in hopes of finding a suitably imaginative child to befriend him.
The director released an official statement regarding the project earlier today, saying the following:
I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character in a paper crown stole our hearts. His name was Beekle and I’m honored to now be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film… I’m particularly proud to be working with DreamWorks Animation, makers of ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ the first film my daughter ever saw on the big screen.
Reitman clearly isn’t on a hot streak with adult audiences lately, but the director has yet to tackle a children’s movie, so Beekle could be the beginning of a new chapter in Reitman’s career if he proves up to the task. Beekle certainly sounds imaginative and charming enough to warrant a place on DreamWorks Animation’s schedule, and as always, we’ll keep you posted with the latest on it.