Ben Stiller has just signed on to star in an adaptation of the classic children’s book “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” for director Noah Baumbach, who recently teamed up for the well-received indie comedy “Greenberg”. While it isn’t known whether or not the film will be all live-action, partly CGI, or feature motion-capture at this point, it’s safe to assume that there’ll be some combination of those techniques taking place. For more details on the project, keep reading, my gentle Examiner readers…
I’d completely forgotten about “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” until I read the news that an adaptation was in the works. The people in charge of the project? Ben Stiller and Noah Baumbach, who recently worked together on the well-received “Greenberg”. 20th Century Fox is in talks with the two right now, trying to get a deal nailed down.
The book– written by Richard and Florence Atwater– is an award-winning children’s classic, and it’s sort of surprising that no one’s attempted an adaptation of this book until now: the plot sounds like it was tailor-made for a wacky, family comedy. Here’s the official plot description of the book from Amazon.com:
Poor Mr. Popper isn’t exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before meeting Mrs. Popper and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper’s fan letter, sends him a penguin; life at 432 Proudfoot Avenue is never the same again. From one penguin living in the icebox, the Popper family grows to include 12 penguins, all of whom must be fed. Thus is born “Popper’s Performing Penguins, First Time on Any Stage, Direct from the South Pole.” Their adventures while on tour are hilarious, with numerous slapstick moments as the penguins disrupt other acts and invade hotels.
This sounds like something that’s more in the vein of Stiller’s “Night at the Museum” movies than, say, “Tropic Thunder”, so if you’re a fan of those flicks, chances are you’re going to be interested in this project, as well. As it says in the intro, nothing’s known as of yet about how Baumbach might want to approach filming the novel– could be something like “Alvin and The Chipmunks”, or it could be all live-action with a team of penguins on-set (though that’d surely be more messy)– but I’d be willing to put money down on this thing going 3D before it’s all said and done.
Stay tuned for more on “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” as it becomes available, my precious snowflakes. While you’re waiting on the next batch of “Penguin”-related news to arrive, feel free to check out some of these other recent articles from the Comedy Examiner’s Office:
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(photos: top– hatchettbookgroup.com, bottom– fusedfilm.com)