Magic School Bus Live-Action Movie in Development from Universal, Elizabeth Banks
Deadline is reporting that Elizabeth Banks’ Brownstone Productions, Universal Pictures, and Marc Platt are developing a live-action hybrid feature of Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus, based on the books written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen.
With over 80 million books in print from the book series, the science-centered stories feature the intrepid Ms. Frizzle and her class, who set out on field trips in their familiar-looking yellow school bus that magically transforms into a plane, submarine, spaceship, or surfboard, depending on the science concept being explored. Banks is set to play Ms. Frizzle in the film.
“We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young learners every day,” said Scholastic President and Chief Strategy Office Iole Lucchese. “We’re also extremely excited to be working with such top-tier partners as Elizabeth Banks, Marc Platt Productions, Brownstone Productions, Universal Pictures, and all of the amazing talent assembled for this noteworthy feature film.”
Banks will also produce the project with Max Handelman for Brownstone Productions along with President and Chief Strategy Officer Iole Lucchese and SVP and General Manager Caitlin Friedman of Scholastic Entertainment. Platt and Adam Siegel will produce via Marc Platt Productions. Alison Small will executive produce the project for Brownstone Productions. Ryan Christians from Marc Platt Productions will oversee production with Sara Scott and Lexi Barta from Universal Pictures.
The Magic School Bus books were first adapted into a PBS animated TV series, featuring Lily Tomlin in the starring role as Ms. Frizzle. The series aired for 18 consecutive years in the U.S. and in more than 100 countries around the world, making it the longest-running kids science series in history. The series earned more than 100 awards, including an Emmy Award, Annenberg Award, and National Education Association Award. An animated sequel to the original series, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, debuted on Netflix in 2017, featuring Kate McKinnon (SNL) as Ms. Frizzle’s sister, Fiona. Multi-award-winning composer/lyricist/playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights) sang the theme song.