‘Downton Abbey’ writer and creator Julian Fellowes is to tackle a big-screen adaptation of the beloved children’s novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’.
Fellowes will be working alongside Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital who will be providing the CGI for the four main characters Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger. Producer Gerald R. Molen is also onboard the project.
Based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame, the story focuses on four animals; Mole, Rat (a European water vole), Toad, and Badger. They live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie, and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames Valley.
“We are finalizing some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents,” Molen said. “We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world.”
Filming will take place at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in New Zealand.
Fellowes has previously worked on a musical version of the story in 2016 providing its script. With music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the musical received its world premiere at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth in October 2016, before transferring to The Lowry in Salford and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The following year the production transferred to the West End’s London Palladium, where it was filmed for cinema broadcast.