From BBC One, Netflix, 42 and directors Noam Murro (300: Rise of an Empire) and Pete Dodd (Frankenweenie) comes the highly anticipated CG animated four-part mini-series Watership Down, based on the novel by Richard Adams. It stars James McAvoy as Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as Fiver, Sir Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort, John Boyega as Bigwig, Gemma Arterton as Clover, Miles Jupp as Blackberry, Freddie Fox as Captain Holly, Olivia Colman as Strawberry and Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay. Watership Down is set for a 2017 debut on BBC One in the UK and Netflix everywhere else.
Watership Down is the tale of a group of rabbits in search of a home. Fiver, a small, young rabbit, has a gift: He can tell when things are going to happen and he can sense whether they will be good or bad. Fiver foresees great danger to the rabbits’ home warren.
Each episode of this four-part mini-series will clock in at an hour long and will be done in a CG animation style by Pete Dodd and Hugo Sands with Brown Bag Films rounding out the team. Most people will likely remember the original 1978 Watership Down animated film from director Martin Rosen, due to it’s shocking and brutal violence that wound up scarring many children who watched the movie assuming it would be your typical cartoon. Producer Rory Aitken commented on the new adaptation moving away from that kind of approach with The Telegraph.
“It’s grown this reputation for being scarring and horrific and brutal, and actually that’s not what the essence of the story is. While we won’t shy away from the darkness in the book, visually it won’t be as brutal and scarring. The idea is to bring it to a wider family audience. While Watership Down is never going to be for young children, it will be for the whole family to watch together.”
“Like many generations of readers Richard Adams’ novel had a profound effect on me and is a true masterpiece. Tom Bidwell has beautifully captured the spirit of the novel and brought it to life for a contemporary audience and I’m thrilled to be working with the BBC, Netflix and 42 to bring this to the screen.” – Noam Murro, Director and Executive Producer, Biscuit Films.
“Before there was Harry Potter there was Watership Down; Richard Adams’ novel is one of the most successful books of all time and one of the biggest selling books in history. It is fantastic to have the opportunity to bring a modern classic to a mainstream BBC One audience with such an incredible roster of actors alongside the talented team overseeing the animation. This fantastic take on the novel will unite the whole family, and bring this classic story to a new generation.” – Matthew Read, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor.
“We jumped at the chance to get in early and work alongside the BBC and 42 to bring this classic English tale to our members around the world. This novel presentation of Adams’ work pairs great talent with beautiful animation and will delight existing fans and capture a whole new audience for this timeless story.” – Larry Tanz, Vice President Global Television, Netflix and Executive Producer
“Adapting this much-loved novel in a fresh and innovative way is a truly exciting opportunity. Telling the story over four hours of CG animation allows us to the characters from the novel and their adventure in a way not previously achievable on screen.” – Rory Aitken, Partner and Executive Producer, 42.
“I’ve loved this classic story since I was a child and we are fortunate to have been able to develop it with perfect partners in the BBC and Netflix, and to have such world-class talent to bring it to screen in a relevant and bold way.” – Josh Varney, Partner and Executive Producer, 42.
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