MouseGuard Director Wes Ball Releases Demo Reel Of Canceled Film
by Erik Amaya
The MouseGuard movie — at least in its current form — is dead at Disney. But fans will still get a taste of what it might’ve been thanks to director Wes Ball and Garry Whitta, one of the picture’s screenwriters.
Ball uploaded a demo reel of effects to his YouTube account. He notes the 9-minute video is just “very good looking previz,” with “environments capable of streaming live to stage during motion capture with our actors.” According to Ball, the previz elements would’ve been sent to WETA Digital to be “recreated” into high end, photo-realistic characters and environments. But we think the slightly unreal look of the demo would’ve worked, too.
Meanwhile, moved by Ball’s giving spirit, Whitta uploaded his draft of the film to Dropbox. “There were other writers who came after me but this is my original first draft,” he wrote in his Twitter post. “Would be nice to see the cinematic MOUSE GUARD find an audience in one form or another.”
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, eagles and 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. Disney pulled the plug two weeks before production was due to start; a victim of the Disney/20th Century Fox merger. The project 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 include now-dead projects like X-Force, a Kitty Pryde-focused X-Men film, and Doctor Doom. Although the latter may find a way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some fashion.
Mouse Guard, however, featured a younger-skewing appeal and premise which clashed with Disney’s plans to set 20th Century Fox up as a home for PG-13 and R-Rated projects for an older demographic. Consequently, it became the first notable casualty of the merger. Well, outside of the thousands of Fox staffers who have already lost their jobs.
Hopefully, Mouse Guard will find another home at some point and, hopefully, Ball will be able to take his previz visuals to a completed state.