We last got an update on the live-action/CG animation hybrid Rats of NIMH movie in 2015. That update was, “Yep, it’s still happening.” Now the project has a director, though you likely won’t recognise his name: James Madigan. However, the first-time feature helmer has the right background to tackle this style of film.
Nicodemus, as seen in the 1982 animated film The Secret of NIMH. Image: Don Bluth Wiki
According to Variety:
Madigan comes from a VFX supervisor background, working in TV and features, and transitioned to second unit directing. He recently wrapped directing the second on upcoming Jason Statham action/thriller “Meg.” His most notable VFX work includes “Iron Man 2,” “The Da Vinci Code,” and HBO’s “Rome” for which he won an Emmy and two Visual Effects Society Awards.
OK. So if anyone is going to make a live-action/CG movie about the adventures of an imperilled mouse family who encounter super-smart escaped lab mice, owls and crows (as well as evil scientists, farmers and cats), it might as well be someone with an extensive VFX background.
Robert C. O’Brien’s Newbery Award-winning children’s book, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, was first adapted into a film in 1982, a traditionally animated movie titled The Secret of NIMH. It was, coincidentally, Disney veteran Don Bluth’s first feature as a director; he went on to make An American Tail, All Dogs Go to Heaven and Anastasia, among others. There’s no word on whether screenwriter Michael Berg (the Ice Age films) will retain the more fantastical qualities that were added to the original film, but were mostly absent from the book — nor any word on what voice cast might sign on. The 1982 film had Dom DeLuise, Edie McClurg, John Carradine, Wil Wheaton and Shannen Doherty — plus the immortal pipes of Derek Jacobi as fan-fave rat character Nicodemus.