Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is going to be made into an animated feature film. It’s the first of Sir Terry’s work to be adapted as an animated feature – there have been animated adaptations of his books (Cosgrove Hall did Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters for the BBC), but nothing for the big screen so far.

The book is the 28th Discworld novel and the first for children. It’s been optioned by Germany-based Ulysses Filmproduktion, which will make the film in cooperation with Ireland’s Cantilever Media. U.S. writer Terry Rossio, (Shrek, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean) has written the screenplay.

Character design will be managed by Carter Goodrich – he worked on both Ratatouille and Brave, so we can have confidence that the film will have a good look. Director Toby Genkel (Ooops! Noah Is Gone…) has been chosen to helm the $17 million movie.

Pratchett’s book, published by Doubleday in 2001, is a retelling of the classic tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It follows Maurice, a streetwise cat, who has the perfect money-making scam. He finds a dumb-looking kid who plays a pipe and has his very own horde of rats, who are strangely literate. When Maurice and the rodents reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, they discover that something very bad is waiting in the cellars.

Cantilever Media CEO Andrew Baker (producer of Netflix’s Robozuna) says that Terry Rossio’s screenplay “twists and turns and produces an unexpected yet heartwarming ending, with Carter Goodrich’s designs bringing these characters to life in their own unique style, which I’m sure audiences will love.”

Rob Wilkins is managing director of Narrativia, which manages Pratchett properties and will executive produce the family movie. He also happened to have been with Pratchett the day he came up with the idea for the book, after seeing a Maxfield Parrish painting of the Pied Piper in the bar of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.

“Terry seemed lost in the painting and so I finished my beer and ordered another,” he said. “By the time it arrived, Terry had sketched out the plot for ‘The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents’ and had played it directly into my brain like a mini-movie.”

The film has been in development for years. Now that they have the script and character designs in hand, they are looking to raise the last part of the necessary financing, and hoping to go into production toward the end of 2019, with a projected release date of sometime early in 2022.

-30-