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Much like his comedy, it’s difficult to predict what writer-director Taika Waititi will do next. After his smash hit in New Zealand, Boy, he followed it up with the vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, then jumped into the adventure Hunt For The Wilderpeople before helming the latest Marvel blockbuster, Thor: Ragnorak. As post-production work continues on that November release, he’s now found a new, quite unexpected project.

Waititi will direct a stop-motion film based on the life of Michael Jackson‘s pet chimp, Bubbles, according to Screen Daily. In association with Rocket Science, the coming-of-age tale is penned by Isaac Adamson, and topped the Black List of best unproduced screenplays back in 2015. Taking the unique angle of the chimp actually being the narrator of the film, it’ll be produced by Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries, also behind Anomalisa.

Thorsten Schumacher of Rocket Science has this to say about the project:

You think you’ve seen it all and then you read Bubbles, which is just so deeply original. Add Dan Harmon and Starburns Industries and you think it couldn’t get any better… but it does! Taika joining as director – bringing his warmth, empathy and humour – and suddenly all the pieces fit perfectly. We are extremely grateful to End Cue and CAA for having the vision to put this unique project together and couldn’t be more proud to be partnering with such an ingenious team.

While Waititi himself has stated:

It’s an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further. Most people know I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it’s respectful of him and his legacy. I’m not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world.

This film is not about Michael Jackson because that’s not a story for me to tell – or a story I’d be comfortable telling – it’s about a chimpanzee’s fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life. I think animation is the only way to approach a story like this. I really loved Anomalisa because it was beautiful and authentic in its meditation on loneliness. I’m really excited to be working with Dan Harmon and Starburns as we share similar sensibilities and want to tell human stories in unique and artistic ways.

Considering the detail that goes into a stop-motion production, we expect this is a handful of years away, and Waititi may even have time to fit in his sequel We’re Wolves in between, so check back for updates.


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