Based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s 1936 children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, this gently subversive Madrid-set feature from animation studio Blue Sky and frequent collaborator Carlos Saldanha (the Ice Agefilms, Rio) follows an adorable, flower-sniffing bull named Ferdinand. “Is it OK if that’s not my dream?” the baby bull asks his father of fighting. When he discovers that he has no choice, Ferdinand scarpers, hoofing it to a flower farm, where he befriends a human girl and her shaggy sheepdog. Ferdinand’s passivity (and flower obsession) isn’t explicitly coded as queer, though the film hints that this might be the case.
Either way, Ferdinand celebrates his mild temperament and non-confrontational masculinity, which remain unchanged as his bull’s body grows resplendently large. The adult Ferdinand (voiced by WWE superstar John Cena) ends up causing a ruckus at a local flower fair (and offers viewers a very funny scene in a china shop) and so is carted back to the ranch he came from. Other fun characters include a neurotic, calming goat voiced by Kate McKinnon, a trio of bitchy German horses with swishy pastel manes, and mischievous, pilfering hedgehogs Uno, Dos and Cuatro (“We do not speak of Tres”).
A Monster Calls to be filmed by Juan Antonio Bayyona:
River Road Entertainment, Participant Media, Lionsgate International, and Focus Features have teamed to finance and distribute Apaches’ production of acclaimed filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona’s next film, A Monster Calls, based on the award-winning novel by Patrick Ness (the Chaos Walking trilogy) published by Walker Books.
Bayona won Spain’s equivalent of the Academy Award, The Goya, for his last film, The Impossible, which was distributed by Lionsgate’s Summit label and grossed more than $160 million at the worldwide box office. The Impossible is the highest-grossing film of all time in Spain.
The film will be produced by Belen Atienza (The Impossible, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage) and is slated for an autumn 2016 release.