The Nut Job writer-director Peter Lepeniotis is reuniting with producer Jay Ahn to write and direct the feature animation adaptation of Nullaboo Hullabaloo. The U.S./Canada/Australia co-pro is being produced by Ahn (Astro-Nomical Entertainment), Tristan Barr and David Gim (Continuance Pictures).
Fleur Ferris’s children’s book, which was released in 2019, follows a fairy that is forbidden to talk to humans. When her grandfather, the king of the fairy colony, is captured by silver spiders, she desperately needs help. She places her trust in ten-year-old country kid Gemma and tells her she must keep the fairies’ existence a secret. But once the secret of the fairies’ existence gets out, they face an even greater threat — luckily, Gemma and her small town are always ready to help a neighbor.
Lepeniotis’s 2014 feature The Nut Job, featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Brendan Fraser and Katherine Heigl, scored more than $120M at the box office. The Nut Job was based on his 2005 short film, Surly Squirrel. He also wrote the sequel to that film and direct 2017 Netflix acquisition Gnome Alone. The Canadian vet was an animator on films including Casper, Toy Story 2 and Dinosaur.
“When I was presented with Fleur’s book, I was instantly inspired by the portrayal of a modern girl discovering the secrets of a magical world hidden from humans. Nullaboo will be a fun, magical look at myth through the eye of our ironic times. I am really excited about the team, and the unique touch we’re going to bring to this charming story,” Lepeniotis told Deadline.
The visual development will be led by Jang Lee, a visual development artist on Big Hero 6 and matte painter on Frozen and Wreck-It-Ralph.