If you’re not familiar with the short-lived 1983 television series “Manimal,” don’t worry — just about everything you need to know about the project is contained in its kicky little portmanteau. It’s about a man who can become animals. Great, right? How did this thing only last for eight episodes? What does the world even want from its television series?
The Glen A. Larson- and Donald R. Boyle-created series was indeed short-lived — lasting just eight episodes on NBC during the autumn and early winter of 1983. It starred Simon MacCorkindale as the eponymous Manimal (Dr. Jonathan Chase, if you’re feeling formal), a shape-shifting doctor who could become any animal on a whim. What did he do with that power? He solved crimes. Obviously. Despite the good doctor’s abilities, he favored two particular animal shapes: a black panther and a hawk, though over the course of the show, he also turned into a dolphin, a bull, and a snake. Although the show had a wacky, kitschy premise, it kind of didn’t have a chance — it was scheduled up against CBS’s smash hit “Dallas” and just never really broke through.
But it might now! That’s right, as you’ve probably guessed, Manimal is now bound for the big screen (no, we weren’t just using this post to randomly talk about a strange television show that’s over thirty years old). Although the project was first announced by Sony Pictures Animation back in 2012, the film is finally getting a solid update, and a better sense of why this particular feature falls under the studio’s animation banner.
SPA reports (via ComingSoon) that Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are now on board…to produce the feature. There’s no word if Ferrell will take on the lead role of Dr. Jonathan Chase — though that would be one heck of a fun fit — or if McKay will direct the outing, though it seems he’s currently most interested in just producing this one. The filmmaker said, “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 film isn’t going to be a straight animated outing, it will blend both live-action and CGI.
And, yes, this thing is really aiming to tickle some funny bones — it is being written by Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, best known for their contributions to “Key & Peele.” What do you think? Excited to see what Ferrell and McKay come up with when it comes to Manimal?
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