He last brought us the wonderful Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016) and has been having fun in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Thor: Ragnarok, but Taika Waititi appears ready to head to an even stranger place. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he has signed on to co-direct Bubbles, a stop motion movie about the life of Michael Jackson's pet chimp.
Mark Gustafson, who has worked on movies such as Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and is developing a new Pinocchio with Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim), is on to co-direct the new film, which is coming from the team behind Anomalisa (2015).
Isaac Adamson's screenplay chronicles the ape's friendship with the King Of Pop after Jackson adopted him from a Texas research facility and gave him a home at his Neverland ranch in 1983. He lived with the megastar until he became too aggressive (Bubbles, not Jacko) and was moved to a primate sanctuary in Florida, where he still lives.
"It's an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further," says Waititi, who previously channeled obsession with Jackson through 2010 comedy Boy. "Most people know I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it's respectful of him and his legacy. I'm not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world. This film is not about Michael Jackson because that's not a story for me to tell – or a story I'd be comfortable telling – it's about a chimpanzee's fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life. I think animation is the only way to approach a story like this."
There is no date for this one to arrive yet, but it will certainly take time given the painstaking nature of stop motion. Thor: Ragnarok, meanwhile, will arrive in cinemas on 27 October in the UK and 3 November in the US.