Will Smith And Maurice Sendak Producing ‘Harold And The Purple Crayon’

Could we finally see Harold and his wild imagination brought to the big screen? According to Pajiba, Crockett Johnson’s classic children’s book “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” which follows a little boy and the adventures he creates through drawings, is now set up at Sony Animation, where Will Smith, James Lassiter and children’s book author Maurice Sendak are producing an adaptation that will reportedly be all-computer-rendered.

Long ago, Spike Jonze was attached to direct a combination live-action and animated film (see his test film here) as his first feature, but after more than a year of work on the project, the whole thing fell through. TriStar pulled out two months before filming was to begin. Sendak, a protege of Johnson, was also involved back then. And ultimately, as you know, he had Jonze adapt his own book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” instead.

The new incarnation of “Harold,” which has been animated before in a 1969 Weston Woods short (with two other “Harold” books similarly adapted in the 1970s) and a 2002 HBO (and Sony) series, will be scripted by Josh Klausner, the former Farrelly brothers collaborator who wrote “Shrek the Third” and the upcoming “Shrek Forever After.” He’s apparently working off a previous draft by Oscar nominee Michael Tolkin (“The Player”). Pajiba hears the intended tone this time around is that of “The Neverending Story.”

But isn’t the tone of “NeverEnding Story” film partly centered on those Henson-esque creature effects? That makes me wish “Harold” could be adapted in a way similar to Jonze’s “Wild Things” movie. Still, this is the animation studio that surprised the heck out of me with their well-made and hilarious adaptation of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” so I am hopeful for whatever style they prefer. And like Pajiba, I would love for “Cloudy” director Phil Lord to direct this thing. Or, if they do change their mind and go live-action, Michel Gondry.

Did you read “Harold and the Purple Crayon” as a kid? Are you glad this adaptation is back on track? What kind of film adaptation would you prefer?