Walt Disney Pictures begins filming Flora & Ulysses and reveals the full cast. Based on Kate DiCamillo’s Newberry Award–winning children’s book Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, the Disney+ movie adaption will star Broadway actress Matilda Lawler in her feature debut.
Directed by Lena Khan (The Tiger Hunter), Flora & Ulysses chronicles the experiences of 10-year-old Flora (Lawler). She’s described as an “avid” comic book fan and “self-avowed cynic.” When Flora rescues a squirrel and names it Ulysses, she soon discovers that it has superhero powers. As a result, Flora learns about life through her adventures with the highly unique animal. The original book was released in 2013 by Candlewick Press, and features eight main characters. Ulysses the squirrel develops his powers upon nearly being sucked up by a vacuum cleaner, and subsequently learns to fly and type poetry, all the while understanding how humans converse with one another. Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures also features a “terrifying cat” named Mr. Klaus.
Per a Disney press release, Flora & Ulysses’ production has officially commenced with Lawler in the main role. On Broadway, the young actress currently stars as Honor Carney in the Tony Award–winning play “The Ferryman,” directed by Sam Mendes and written by Jez Butterworth. In the Disney+ film, Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother, American Pie) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, Modern Family) will portray Flora’s parents, Phyllis and George, respectively. In addition, Danny Pudi (Community) has a supporting role as an overly zealous animal control officer named Miller. Pudi previously worked with director Khan for The Tiger Hunter. Benjamin Evans Ainsworth rounds out the cast as Flora’s annoying pal William.
Disney+ is scheduled to launch on November 12. The streaming service will compete with popular subscription platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Earlier this month, we discussed everything we know about the Disney+ catalogue, which will undoubtedly be a popular destination for Marvel and Lucasfilm fans. The service will reportedly focus on quality over quantity, as Disney+ will begin with one-fifth of the content that Netflix currently offers. As for the feature adaptation Flora & Ulysses, Disney enlisted an accomplished production team featuring cinematographer Andrew Dunn (Crazy, Stupid, Love), editor Lee Haxall (Always Be My Maybe), costume designer Mona May (Santa Clarita Diet), and Khan’s production designer for The Tiger Hunter, Michael Fitzgerald.
With so much hype surrounding high-profile Disney+ series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki, Flora & Ulysses represents something different for younger demographics. The adaption will also mark the first family film for Disney+, and will complement original adventure films like Don Quixote, Peter Pan, and Secret Society of Second Born Royals. At the moment, Flora & Ulysses doesn’t have an official release date.