VFX Mo Willems inks deal with HBO Max for animated specials

Mo Willems inks deal with HBO Max for animated specials

HBO Max has announced an exclusive, multi-year deal with children’s author Mo Willems, establishing him as HBO Max’s very first artist in residence, an Emmy Award-winning writer, New York Times best-selling author and illustrator.

As part of the two-year deal, HBO Max has acquired streaming rights to Willems’ first live-action special Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! from Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures, who will produce all additional content under the deal. HBO Max has committed to additional live-action Storytime specials, as well as multiple animated specials based on Willems’ wildly popular children’s books. The first animated special will be based on New York Times Best Seller, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.

Previously announced and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! is a premium, live-action family comedy special featuring Willems and the Story Time All-Stars, a group of celebrities, comedians and actors, performing live readings and sketch comedy inspired by Willems’ work, as well as a few surprise musical guests. Celebrity guests include Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife), Tony Hale (Veep), Greta Lee (Russian Doll), Tom Lennon (The Odd Couple), Natalie Morales (Abby’s) and Oscar Nunez (The Office). Produced by Stampede Ventures, with Willems and Silverman, Gideon Yu, Jay Judah and Chris Bosco as executive producers.

Willems began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards. He also created several animated projects for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and currently serves as the inaugural Education Artist-in-Residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts, collaborating with artists in jazz, classical, dance, theater, opera and comedy.