It seems the shockwaves of the Disney/Fox merger are finally hitting productions.
Deadline reports work on the adaptation of Mouse Guard has ground to halt two weeks before the film was set to go into production. Based on the comic book series by David Petersen, the film was to focus on an an order of mice who protect their medieval realm from threats like foxes and eagles to other rival factions. Idris Elba was set to play Celanawe, a legendary warrior seemingly missing as the tale begins. Andy Serkis was also cast as the villainous former guard blacksmith Midnight while Thomas Brodie-Sangster was to play Lieam, a young recruit thrust into the center of the conflict.
Like The Lion King and Jungle Book remakes, the film was planned as a mix of live action and animation; utilizing the actors’ voices and movements via complex motion capture rigs.
According to the site, the story’s younger-skewing appeal and premise clashed with Disney’s plans to set 20th Century Fox up as home for PG-13 and even R-Rated projects for an older demographic. If Mouse Guard is cancelled entirely, it will be the first real production casualty in Disney acquisition of the Fox assets. In the Fox offices, plenty of executives have already exited the company with “thousands” of lower-level employees expected to lose their jobs in the coming months.
Mouse Guard was set up during the hazy period in which Fox still had to make production decisions just in case the deal fell through. These “good faith” developments also included the likely dead X-Force, Kitty Pryde-focused X-Men film, and Doctor Doom. Although the latter may find a way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It is possible the project will resume production should Disney decide to take it under their wing. But considering the studio already has plenty of material for younger audiences, Mouse Guards cinematic future may be in for a long pause.
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