Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black, The Addams Family) is teaming up with Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall to turn Jane Smiley‘s novel Perestroika In Paris into a 2D animated film. Sonnenfeld will direct and Marshall will produce via The Kennedy/Marshall Company. The hunt for a screenwriter has begun.
Perestroika In Paris is a satirical tale revolving around a group of anthropomorphic animals wandering Paris’ Champs de Mar. A talking racehorse nicknamed Paras is the protagonist, a curious soul yearning for a taste of freedom who wanders away from the track one night when her trainer leaves the stall door slightly ajar.
She stumbles upon various animals who become her street-wandering companions. They include a sophisticated shorthaired pointer, a snobbish raven, a mouse on the prowl for a mate, and a bickering pair of mallards. But how long can a racehorse enjoy the City of Lights before the authorities close in?
The novel was published last year and was Smiley’s first work intended for adults in five years, since her last few books have been YA fiction. She previously wrote classics such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres in 1991 and the campus satire Moo in 1995.
Perestroika In Paris sounds like it has the narrative to be intended for both adults and children. The kids come for the talking adults, and the adults stay for the themes of ownership and freedom. We’ll see if the film adaptation remains more adult-orientated or whether it will become skew more kid-friendly in hopes of bigger box office profits.
Marshall has also produced Seabiscuit and War Horse, so he’s right at home with films about animals. This will be Sonnenfeld’s first film since 2016, which was strangely also animal-centric – the talking cat comedy Nine Lives. Before that his latest films were poor comedies RV and Big Trouble, with a belated Men In Black sequel squished in the middle, so he’s in need of a hit.