Veteran TV director Matt Shakman – who helmed Game of Thrones’ “The Spoils of War,” as well as episodes of FXX’s You’re the Worst, FX’s Fargo, AMC’s Mad Men, USA’s Psych, ABC’s Revenge, Showtime’s Weeds and 44 episodes of FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia where he also served as an executive producer for five years – is set to direct an upcoming adaptation of Norton Juster’s 1961 novel, The Phantom Tollbooth. The film comes as a follow-up to his 2014 debut feature, Cut Bank, which was not so well received, especially in comparison to his television work.
Often lauded as one of the best and most intelligent children’s books ever written, a write-up from /Film describes the story as:
The Phantom Tollbooth is one of the greatest children’s books of all time, a witty and imaginative fantasy adventure that plays like a more modernized (and more American) Alice in Wonderland. The book follows Milo, a bored kid who drives his toy car through a magical tollbooth that arrives at his front door, transporting him to the Kingdom of Wisdom, where two princesses (Rhyme and Reason) are missing and the cities of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis are engaged in a rivalry over the superiority of words or numbers. Along the way, Milo meets a watchdog named Tock (a dog who literally has a clock in his side) and other bizarre characters, many of them walking personifications of wordplay and various concepts.
The book was adapted once before in 197o (poorly), and Shakman’s film is the result of many different attempts to bring the story back to the big screen the right way. The plan is to create a hybrid animated/live-action film to accommodate the many different characters that come in and out of Juster’s novel. Michael Vukadinovich (Hulu’s Runaways) and Phil Johnston (Zootopia, Cedar Rapids) are writing the screenplay, however no further details – casting, release date, etc. – have been released.
Check back soon for more info on Matt Shakman’s The Phantom Tollbooth!
Images: FXX, Yearling