Only a couple of weeks before production was set to begin, Disney studios have dumped Mouse Guard.
The big budget mo-cap extravaganza was all set to go under Fox, but after Disney’s acquisition of the studio, the news has emerged that they’ve dropped the project, Hollywood Reporter revealed yesterday.
The reason for the scrapping isn’t clear, but sources have said that Disney felt the production might stray too close to its standard CGI fare like The Lion King and The Jungle Book.
Another source suggested that Mouse Guard‘s $170m budget was too high, with Disney wanting the Fox arm to stick to lower-cost family movies. But this idea has been disputed on the grounds that Fox are still handling David Cameron’s Avatar sequels, which certainly seems to discount the budget-cap theory.
Sources have also indcated that the project has been released for other studios, with several already interested in carrying the production. With the high-grossing Maze Runner‘s Wes Ball directing, and Rogue One‘s Gary Witta co writing the adaptation, it might not be too long before the production takes off again.
Mouse Guard producer Matt Reeves, director of War for The Planet Of The Apes, already has a production deal at Netflix, making them a possible taker. Paramount’s head Wyck Godfrey produced Maze Runner, so that’s another possible home.
The project had already gathered a big name cast, including mo-cap vet Andy Serkis, Idris Elba, Samson Kayo and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.
The film was based on Archaia/Boom! Studios‘ comic series set in a medieval world devoid of humans, where an ancient order of mice are sworn to protect their fellow creatures from predators and other dangers. Think of it as a kind of Game Of Thrones meets Star Wars, with even more fur. The comic, by David Peterson, is a two time Eisner award winner.
Serkis was to have played the villain of the piece, Midnight, a blacksmith who betrays the order he once served. Elba was to play Celanawe, a legendary hero thought to be dead, who returns to mentor young newbie Lieam (Brodie-Sangster) who has to prove his worth. British comic Kayo was signed up for the fractious Saxson, and Jack Whitehall was in talks to play Saxsun’s sidekick, the laid back staff-wielding Kenzie.