Thomas the Tank Engine, who first appeared in The Railway Series books back in 1946, is going to be appearing in a live-action film for the first time, under Shane Acker, director of the Tim Burton-produced 2009 film, 9, Deadline report.

Thomas and his friends have been on our television screens since way back in 1984, and are still running today, and they’ve been the top-selling toys for pre-school children on both sides of the Atlantic for a decade.

Naturally, giving the director’s job to Acker will come as quite a bit of a surprise to some, given that his first feature film was set in a post-apocalyptic world. Acker himself, however, has said that he plans to open up the film’s audience to appeal to an older age as well, and has said how becoming a father has opened up his eyes to new possibilities in his filmmaking career:

“I’m a recent father, with a 20-month old daughter. We lead such busy lives in Hollywood, always running and hustling, but children tend to slow you down a bit and reconnect you with that inner world. It reinvents your imagination, seeing things through a child’s eyes It was transformative  for me and that is what inspired me about the possibilities here. The tale will revolve around a pre-teen boy who has drifted apart from his father. The son is introduced into this world of Sodor, a place his father visited as a child but can’t remember. There is a bonding experience.”

The screenplay has been written by Josh Klausner (Shrek Forever After, Date Night), and Chris Viscardi and Will McRobb (who both worked together on Alvin and the Chipmunks live-action film). Joining the creative team for the film will be Mattel, the famous and world’s largest toy company, and Weta Workshop, the special effects company Peter Jackson is involved with, who have been part of the special effects for all three The Lord of the Rings, as well as Avatar and District 9. So the team helping to translate the toys into a live-action feature will have plenty of experience under their belts. Whilst I personally can’t imagine what the trains are going to look like for Thomas’ latest live-action adventure, I feel no shame in admitting that I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Since graduating, I spend as much time as possible watching films/TV shows, reading books, and listening to music. So getting to write about what I love is nothing short of awesome. Biggest film-related hope for 2014/ever: Guy Ritchie announcing the RocknRolla sequel is finally moving forward.