'The Phantom Tollbooth' Film In The Works From 'Rio' And 'Ice Age' Director

Hollywood is ready to pass through The Phantom Tollbooth again, this time with famed animation director Carlos Saldanha at the helm. Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer's classic children's book about a boy who travels to a magical world has been adapted before, once by legendary animator Chuck Jones in a live-action/animated hybrid in 1970. Now Saldana, best known for directing both Rio movies, Ferdinand, Robots, and a trio of Ice Age films, will attempt to put his spin on the tale.

Saldanha takes over from previous director, Matt Shakman, who came aboard last year but has left due to scheduling issues. Penned by Hidden Figures and St. Vincent director Ted Melfi, the story centers on “Milo, an apathetic child who is bored by everything. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through it and discovers the magical Lands Beyond — which is full of intriguing places and dynamic characters, like kidnapped princesses and Rhyme and Reason, and Tock, an oversized watchdog with a clock in his side — and learns that life is much more exciting than he had thought it to be.” 

This will be Saldanha's live-action directorial debut, although he'll be blending in animated aspects, as well, much like the 1970 version. I expect he'll lean hard on those elements and could have another animated hit family movie on his hands. Saldana's movies tend to be bright, vibrant affairs with lots of music and I'm hoping he finds a way to incorporate that here. [THR]