The Magic School Bus rides again. Well, technically, it rides for a third time now. Are we complaining? Not in the slightest.
The Magic School Bus, an animated TV show on PBS, and quite the staple for a generation of elementary school kids, ran from 1994 to 1997 and introduced children to big scientific concepts through a magical big yellow school bus that could swim in the ocean, fly in outer space, and shrink to the size of a red blood cell to explore the human body. This magical yellow school bus was commandeered by an eccentric science teacher named Ms. Frizzle who had a chameleon as a pet and often dressed in killer outfits that gave away the theme of each episode. Lily Tomlin voiced the Friz in the original iteration of the show.
The Magic School Bus Rides Again, on Netflix, introduced comedienne Kate McKinnon as the Friz’s sister Fiona. Rides Again was a direct sequel to the original series. Lin-Manuel Miranda composed and sang the show’s theme song. In this series, Ms. Frizzle, whose first name happens to be Valerie, retires from teaching and gives her sister, basically, the keys to the kingdom. Fiona cultivates the same whacky quests for adventure and knowledge, albeit with updated science and an updated yellow school bus.
Now, the indomitable Elizabeth Banks is bringing Ms. Frizzle back in a live-action animated hybrid film for Universal. Banks will portray the Friz and also produce the film via her company Brownstone Productions with the help of Max Handelman as well as President and Chief Strategy Officer Iole Lucchese and SVP & General Manager Caitlin Friedman of Scholastic Entertainment, and Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions. Alison Small serves as Executive Producer for Brownstone Productions.
In a statement Lucchese said, “We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young learners every day. We’re also extremely excited to be working with such top-tier partners as Elizabeth Banks, Marc Platt Productions, Brownstone Productions, Universal Pictures, and all of the amazing talent assembled for this noteworthy feature film.”
The movie couldn’t come at a better time. Women and young girls are statistically less likely to pursue careers in the STEM field. Seeing a woman with a zest for knowledge that transcends all STEM careers, including those in astronomy and paleontology, is just what young girls need. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Banks is playing the Friz. Banks is also at the forefront of bringing more stories about strong women to silver screens and the world needs more of that too. So, we’re all here for Banks bringing the film to life and bringing the Friz to life as well.