Book by author Kate DiCamillo The Magician’s Elephant will soon come to life on screen. Netflix has ordered an animated film adaptation of the book, due out this spring.
DiCamillo is best known for her work in children’s literature, with over 25 published titles including Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tiger’s Rebellion, the story of Despereaux, and Flora & Odysseus. The Story of Despereaux and Flora & Odysseus Each earned DiCamillo a Newbery Medal for Children’s Literature. The Magician’s Elephant is intended to be DiCamillo’s fifth theatrical translation, following the four previously mentioned books. Screenwriter Martin Hynes will adapt the screenplay, with Wendy Rogers directing and Julia Pistor producing. Netflix will handle production through its Netflix Animation subsidiary, with Pistor Production and Animal Logic. Netflix also handles exclusive distribution.
Now let’s look at everything we know about Netflix The Magician’s Elephant. What can we expect from the plot and how closely will it tie in with the novel? Who is lined up in the cast? When will Netflix release the film? And will it be the next big children’s book adaptation?
The Magician’s Elephant: The Storyline
DiCamillo’s novel is about Peter, a ten-year-old boy who is searching for his missing sister. He learns from a fortune teller that an elephant will show him the way. After that, an elephant will be summoned by a magician in the city. On his journey, Peter must unite a diverse cast of characters to save his sister and the elephant. DiCamillo explores themes of togetherness, the importance of family, and how hope can inspire people to do great things. The book was well received and won several awards including an ALSC Notable Children’s Book Award in 2010.
From what we know of the film’s plot, it appears that it will closely follow the book. A plot synopsis is below.
“When Peter, who is looking for his long-lost sister named Adele, runs into a fortune teller in the market place, he only has one question: is his sister still alive? The answer he must find, the mysterious elephant and the sorcerer who will summon him, sends Peter on a harrowing journey to complete three seemingly impossible quests that will forever change the face of his city and lead him on the adventure of a lifetime .”
Speaking of what drew her to the film, director Wendy Rogers said, “Peter’s story planted itself in my heart the first time I read the book – I felt a real connection to him and I was completely fascinated by the world and people characters. The power of hope, the belief that anything is possible, and the ability to ask, “What if?” are all themes woven into the fabric of this film that resonate now more than ever.”
Although this is the first film adaptation of DiCamillo’s story, it’s not the first time it’s been brought to life off the page. A stage adaptation by playwright Nancy Harris ran from October 2021 to January 2022. The production premiered at what may be the world’s greatest theater capital, the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon. The stage adaptation, like the book, received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.
We can expect more storyline information to follow as we get closer to the release date.
The Wizard’s Elephant: The Cast
Netflix has lined up a star-studded cast to fill the roles we loved from the book. A quiet place Actor Noah Jupe stars as Peter, the boy who goes in search of his sister. MCU’s own Wong, Benedict Wong, plays the wizard who summons the elephant Peter needs to find his sister. Peter’s sister Adele is played by English actress Pixie Davies, known for her Disney’s breakthrough Mary Poppins’ Return.
The rest of the cast includes fleasack Stars Sian Clifford, Natasia Demetriou by What we do in the shadowsEnglish actress Dawn French, Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry, Mean Actors Aasif Mandvi, Mandy Patinkin von hometownEnglish actress Miranda Richardson, telling scary stories in the dark Actress Lorraine Toussaint and legendary voice actress Cree Summer. Currently, none of these stars have roles assigned.
We can expect more casting announcements as well as confirmations of existing roles in the coming weeks and months.
The Magician’s Elephant will be released by Netflix on March 17th. However, development of a feature film based on the book actually began before the book was even published. 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to the film The Magician’s Elephant in August 2009, ahead of the book’s September release. However, the film was stuck in development for over a decade until producer Julia Pistor brought the project to Netflix in December 2020.