Toy Story 4’s Josh Cooley set to write & direct Malamander for Sony
Thomas Taylor’s fantasy novel Malamander has been a hit since its publishing last year and now Sony is getting to work on bringing it to life on the big screen with Toy Story 4 helmer Josh Cooley signing on to write and direct, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Written by Taylor and featuring artwork from Tom Booth, the novel is set in a seaside town named Eerie-on-Sea filled with eccentric characters and mysteries as murky as its winter fog and centers on Herbert Lemon, a young boy who acts as a hotel’s lost-and-found director. Herbert teams up with Violet Parma, a young girl who is looking for parents she lost as a baby, and sets off on an adventure that involves a half-man, half-monster who is said to make dreams come true and a hook-handed man pursuing them.
“Creating films and telling stories at Pixar for 17 years has been a dream,” Cooley said in a statement to THR. “The quality of our storytelling was a direct correlation to the quality of the people at Pixar who shaped those stories together, and they will always be my family. And while it was a hard decision to leave, I am so excited to jump into and create new worlds with new collaborators and partners. There are so many stories that I want to tell, and I hope to bring some of that Pixar magic with me wherever I go.”
Prior to making his feature directorial debut on the Oscar-winning Toy Story 4, Cooley worked at Pixar for 17 years as a storyboard artist on hits including The Incredibles and Cars, as well as a writer on Inside Out, for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and writing and directing short films attached to Up and Inside Out. In a search to find his own path, Cooley left the Disney-owned animation studio in Mid-March and turned down offers from various animation houses, quickly landing the sought-after director’s chair on the first animated theatrical Transformers film of a planned new series at Paramount and Hasbro separate from the live-action universe.
The film, which will mark Cooley’s live-action directorial debut, is being overseen by Peter Kang on behalf of Sony, with no producers currently attached to the project at the time of reporting. Malamander has been translated into 20 languages worldwide and garnered a nomination for the Carnegie Medal, with a sequel entitled Gargantis planned for publishing in the U.K. on May 7 and in the U.S. on May 26 through Walker Books.
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